Mother appeals for money for surgery
Thapelo Sifundza was a healthy baby until three months ago when her head started growing ever bigger.
The six-month-old baby girl from Masibekela, near Komatipoort in Mpumalanga, has been diagnosed as suffering from hydrocephalus, a severe infection caused by the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the unborn baby's skull resulting in the compression of the brain.
The baby's unemployed mother, Busi Sifundza, 23, told Sowetan: "My baby was born normal, but things changed when she was three months old and her head started swelling
"I need anyone who can help me to send Thapelo to special doctors to get advanced medication," she said.
Sifundza said another problem she had was the unavailability of balanced food because she was unemployed and relied on the government grants for her three children, whose different fathers had disappeared.
Mandla Mashabane, a local medical practitioner, confirmed that baby Thapelo was suffering from hydrocephalus.
"The disease is caused by the accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, which causes increased intracranial pressure inside the skull, and this makes the baby's head grow bigger," Mashabane said.
He said that because of the pressure on the brain, this could result in brain damage, which would adversely affect the thought and behaviour of the child. The infection could result in earlier than average puberty.
Treatment of hydrocephalus is surgical; a flexible tube is placed into the ventricular system that diverts the flow of the excess fluid into another region of the body where it can be absorbed.
Thapelo is now under the care of the African Door of Hope, an organisation that looks after orphans and victims of domestic violence in the Nkomazi region.
The organisation's president Norman Sibitane said they had tried to obtain treatment for the baby, but did not have enough funds.
The organisation has asked for help for Thapelo.