By Taniya Dutta
These heartbreaking images show the tragic moment a mother cries for a life-saving surgery for her toddler daughter whose head has swollen to the size of a football.
18-month-old Binita Hira suffers from an extreme form of hydrocephalus, a rare condition where fluid accumulates inside the skull.
The tiny tot’s head has swollen to 20 inches – almost three times its normal size – and she is now bedridden and in danger of losing her life.
Her poverty-stricken parents are desperately waiting for medical help to save their dying daughter whom the villagers call a ‘curse’.
Binita cannot sit or move on her own. She is fed milk by spoon and is cleaned every morning by her mother, who then spends her whole day looking after her daughter lying motionless in a cot.
“My baby is extremely weak. She cannot sit or crawl like other children her age. She cannot move on her and remains on the cot whole day. It is devastating to see your child living a miserable life.
“People look at her with pity. Some call her a result of our past sins, others come from far off places to have a look at her head. It breaks my heart,” said mother Sangita Hira.
Sangita and Manohar Das, both 31, from Kampur village in Assam in northeast India, were delighted when Binita, their second child, was born.
She was a beautiful, healthy girl with chubby cheeks. But four months after her birth, instead of her body, Binita’s head started growing disproportionately to her tiny frame.
The puzzled parents failed to understand the cause of her head’s abnormal growth and took her to local witch doctors, consulting a medical doctor was out of their reach.
“She was a healthy girl. She was normal built when born but after four months she started to fell ill. Her head started to grow while her body growth remained the same. We took her to local healer but nothing helped.
“We had no money to afford taking her to bigger hospitals for the treatment,” said Manohar Das, who makes a paltry sum of £40 a month after working on the paddy fields.
The distressed parents are now hoping for help from people to arrange for a prompt surgical treatment that could save Binita’s life.
“My fear is if she is not operated on timely, her head would explode. But I believe our daughter can survive if she is given medical aid but we cannot afford the expensive treatment.
“We would be grateful to the people if they come forward and donate some money for her treatment,” added the optimistic father.
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain. The excess fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leads to increased pressure on the brain which can cause damage to the brain tissue.
In severe cases, patients with the condition cannot speak and lose vision. Due to the weight of the head, they are unable to sit and are mostly bedridden.
The usual treatment for the condition is to plant a thin tube called a shunt into the skull. This helps to drain excess fluid from the brain to other body cavities.
This condition is common among children and a patient, if operated at the right time, can be saved.