18-month-old baby with swollen head
It may shock many but the case of hydrocephalus, a condition where fluids are accumulated in the brain, causing one’s head to swell, is more common than we think.
Roona Begum, hydrocephalus.
Our hearts go out to a young girl in the poverty-stricken community of the rural village of Jirania Khola, India, as she lies miserably on a thin mat on the ground of her mud hut. 18-month-old Roona Begum’s head had swelled to a shocking 91cm length in circumference just a few weeks after her birth. It saddens many, especially her father, Abdul Rahman, 18, who keeps praying for a miracle that will save his little daughter.
Water on the brain
Roona suffers from the medical condition, hydrocephalus, which occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain cavities. As fluids are prevented from being normally absorbed in the bloodstream, it builds up inside the skull, causing an enlargement of the head and potentially death when too much pressure is put on the brain.
This devastating condition where her head is too heavy for her tiny body prevents Roona from sitting upright and affects her ability to move. It is little wonder that the girl is in a lot of pain too.
Not enough money to treat his daughter
An illiterate labourer who earns less than S$3 a day converted, Roona’s father is incapable of sending her to a specialist for her rare but treatable condition. Typically remedied by inserting a shunt in the patient’s head, fluids on the brain can be drained away to be absorbed in abdominal cavities instead.
Helpless and desperate, Rahman tells of how difficult it is to see his only child in pain and in danger, accounting how he constantly prays for a miracle for his child. Thankfully, it seems his prayers have been heard, as a renowned private hospital in India has offered to examine his daughter and treat the little girl who outlived the 2 months that doctors initially prognosed.
In a worldwide response to the cries of the unfortunate family, people around the globe have reacted to Roona’s heartbreaking story with their own personal bid to help. A website detailing her condition and information on how you can help has also been set up, allowing numerous to make a difference in this tragic tale.
Authorities have found that estimates show about one in every 500 children suffering from hydrocephalus. While Roona’s case is extremely rare as her head swelled and doubled in size in such a short span of time, the young girl still maintains her chirpy spirit, with a smile constantly etched on her face.