If you are a poor woman living in the tropics, you are more likely to have a baby with hydrocephalus. That’s according to a group of research scientists who published their findings in the Lancet’s Global Health.
Last year, there were an estimated 200,000 new cases of infant hydrocephalus in sub-Saharan Africa alone. The vast majority of these babies are never treated, resulting in unnecessary suffering, disability, and death. Currently, the only available treatments require neurosurgical intervention, to which there is very poor access across Africa. NeuroKids is addressing access to advanced care through training and supporting treatment centers around Africa and in South America and Asia.
In most of the world, newborn infections and neural tube defects (like spina bifida) are the primary causes of hydrocephalus. NeuroKids is going after those too. Through a partnership with Dr. Steve Schiff and Yale’s Global Health for Neurosurgery, NeuroKids is embarking on the expensive and labor-intensive process of discovering the responsible pathogens to reduce neonatal sepsis, paving the way for public health strategies toward earlier treatment and prevention.
Post-infectious hydrocephalus (PIH) is a condition of poverty. (Conversely, post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus of prematurity, the most common cause of hydrocephalus in the United States, is a condition of prosperity.) In much of Africa, untreated hydrocephalus comes with an estimated economic loss of $50bn annually, exacerbating the cycle of poverty.
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