Dear Friends and Supporters,
I am a little late getting this newsletter out after our last trip in Sept.-Oct. 2011,but I feel we once again had a very productive journey. As we have reported in the past, we are experiencing a bit of a transition in Sierra Leone, where we are seeing fewer total numbers of Obstetrical Fistulas, but the ones we are now seeing are the more difficult ones. This is obviously good news in that the overall fistula numbers are diminishing, but unfortunately, there is still a tremendous amount of Maternal Mortality, with Sierra Leone ranking as the 2nd worst in the World at this time. On this front, we have made an agreement with the government to further assist in the care of more of their general Obstetrical and Gynecological patients. In return, we have been given access to a larger portion of their facilities to help them in this area. This important collaboration allows us to keep our expenses more focused on care, rather than the brick and mortar expenditures until those can be justified. I continue to promise you that our funds that have been so generously donated by all have been and will be utilized to the fullest.
Drs. Gary Gilkeson and Natasha Ruth joined us for about a week and are doing studies on Lupus at the University of South Carolina Medical School . Nurse Patty Hoskin accompanied us and helped tremendously with skills training and general welfare of the patients.
We had a significant number of successful surgeries and are pleased to say a large number of these women went home dry to their respective villages. Beyond these surgeries, we had an increased workload in the Obstetrical and Gynecology area, but there are still way too many Maternal Deaths that could easily be prevented.
We are enclosing a number of pictures of the patients and kitchen facilities that we use, as our studies continue to show nutrition is extremely important in being able to have successful Obstetrical Fistulas.
Additionally, we are extremely pleased to announce that we have proposed a STAGING of OBSTETRICAL FISTULAS that we hope will be used worldwide to be able to predict success rates of the surgeries. This is very much like the way staging of cancers is used. Our staging was accepted and published in the International Journal of Obstetrical Trauma in the first Journal publication.
Finally, we want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.We also would like to once again express our appreciation for all that continue to support the Women and Children of Sierra Leone and others we treat in West Africa.
Darius R. Maggi M.D.
West Africa Fistula Foundation