A Heart For Jemaima

Jemaima has suffered from a congenital heart defect since birth - a malformation of the cardiac septum, which causes the two chambers of the heart to be connected by a hole.

Jemaima urgently needs a heart operation

The three-year-old orphan Jemaima has been living in the orphanage in Donkorkrom, which we have been supporting financially for a few years now. She was brought to the orphanage in the beginning of the year, as her family could no longer provide food for her. Despite the good basic care at the orphanage, Jemaima was still worryingly thin and severely underdeveloped for her age. This was noticed by one of our medical students, who was taking his elective at the Presbyterian Hospital Donkorkrom at the time and advocated for a detailed, medical examination and diagnosis.

Jemaima is an adventurous little girl with a big appetite for life, always laughing and smiling despite the challenges she faces. Though only being able to walk with the aid of others she is eager to explore her surroundings and find something interesting to play with. Due to only being able to use a handful of words communication is difficult for her. In her usual surroundings at the orphanage, she can get by alright with gestures. All this changes when she must travel to the capital for her examinations at the hospital. She must travel for up to ten hours by bus on dirt roads. She usually stays in Accra for at least a week under care of a lady working at her orphanage until someone is able to escort the two of them back to Donkorkrom. Without the other children and without her usual surroundings Jemima is a quiet, timid child and spends most of her time waiting to get back home. During those stays in Accra, she has little to nothing to play with and no one to keep her occupied. Still, she endures it bravely and you hardly ever see her cry or frustrated for longer than a few seconds.

This defect creates a short-circuit connection through which the oxygen-rich blood passes from the left ventricle to the right ventricle (left-right shunt). – The right ventricle in particular must pump more blood volume, and blood flow to the lungs is increased. In very large defects, blood pressure in the lungs is also increased. This is a life-threatening condition that has arrived in Jemaima’s case and will lead to irreversible damage if surgical intervention cannot be facilitated in a timely manner. The girl is already in such a critical condition that her body would not be able to muster sufficient reserves to effectively fight off an infectious disease. Image: Wikipedia

What’s her condition?

Jemaima has suffered from a congenital heart defect since birth – a malformation of the cardiac septum, which causes the two chambers (ventricles) of the heart to be connected by a hole. The disease is therefore termed Ventricle Septum Defect (VSD). Now that a VSD has been diagnosed as the cause of little Jemaima’s severe underdevelopment, the task now is to correct the heart defect as quickly as possible with the help of surgery. This will prevent the fatal damage to the lungs and further developmental delay. The urgency of the operation is also due to the fact that the pressure in the lungs may soon be so great that the shunt is reversed (right-left shunt) and an Eisenmenger reaction occurs. Surgical therapy would then no longer be possible, since surgery would result in heart failure. The only remaining alternative would be heart and lung transplantation. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic alternative for Jemaima.

How We Want To Help?

Together4ghana currently allows regular medical monitoring and the necessary medication. However, the surgery means another financial burden of 6500 EUR. Without parents, the orphan girl is dependent on external support. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana is currently her guardian and they have granted us the permission to pay for her desperately needed surgery. We would like to make this possible for her and give her back the chance of a healthy and carefree life. She will be treated at the National Cardiothoracic Centre in the nation’s capital. One of the continent’s leading and most renowned institutions for heart surgery. The center was established in association with German heart surgeons in the early 90’s and has since then maintained a high quality medical treatment. To not waste any time, we have arranged her surgeory by the beginning of 2022.

How You Can Help?

Support us to give little Jemaima the life-saving heart surgery she needs! You can either choose to help finance the operation via our donation form* below or choose to start you own fundraiser for Jemaima. We also encourage you to spread the word and share Jemaima’s story.

*Disclaimer: By donating via the form we offer you to easily use a mode of transaction that suits you best, e.g. PayPal, Google Pay or Credit Card. However, these services charge transaction fees between 2,5-4%. To circumvent these fees you can also decide to transfer the money directly to our bank account. Don’t forget to make a payment reference with “Jemaima”.

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Become A Fundraiser

Start your own fundraising campaign dedicated to helping Jemaima. Take control by setting your personal donation goal, upload a photo, write an inspiring text and send your campaign link to your friends and family.