Patient records of spina bifida patients who received surgical care at Kijabe Hospital, Kenya


For the summer of 2013, I worked on obtaining patient records of spina bifida patients who received surgical care at Kijabe Hospital. A congenital defect resulting in incomplete neural tube closure, spina bifida is thought to be caused by inadequate folate levels in the first trimester of pregnancy. Due to Plasmodium Falciparum's folate metabolism, mothers in malarious regions could be more susceptible to having children with spina bifida. Since there was no previous studies on this issue, and Kijabe Hospital had a large database of cases, the research sought to analyze a geographic relationship between the two conditions. Kenya's unique elevation profile results in both extremely malarious regions and malaria free highlands. As accurate maps for malaria exist, it was my job to use hospital data to obtain a spread of spina bifida cases. With the help of renowned neurosurgeon Leland Albright, a database of approximately 1800 cases and their home towns was compiled. Using a set of anorectal malformations that Kijabe Hospital also sees in high volume to control for the Hospital catchement area, and Kenyan population density data, Global Information Systems software will allow the significance of possible correlations to be studied