Helping baby Jiao


A girl from Laos with spina bifida

Over the years I have helped a number of girls with spina bifida – a neural tube defect, often caused by maternal nutrient deficiency. The condition starts as a sac of cerebral spinal fluid on the baby’s spine. If spinal nerves are inside that sac, the chance of the person walking or having control over their bladder and bowels is greatly reduced.

I was referred a sweet 4 month old baby girl from Western Laos. Her older brother has a cleft lip and palate and was part of a cleft program already here in Thailand. The program is unable to help other surgically correctible conditions, so they asked if MHSF could help.

Baby Jiao was able to get an MRI at Overbrook Hospital in Chiang Rai thanks to generous donations from these beautiful women: A.R, S.L, E.C, J.K and T.B. The MRI showed there were no nerves in the large sac at the base of baby Jiao’s spine (I was so happy and thankful, I cried!). The local surgeon has scheduled a repair in October 2023, giving baby Jiao time to grow, making surgery and anesthetiser safer.

Mekong Hope Surgical Fund will continue to supply the funds for the travel from Laos to Chiang Rai and the surgical costs, estimated at about $3,500-$4,000 AUD.

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