2013 – September

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I apologize for this letter being late, as I am actually heading back over for another trip now and realized I had failed to get this update out from our last trip. However, upon returning this last time and having multiple meetings about the current WAFF situation and our goals moving forward, I keep coming back to the same feeling: our team is doing an absolutely amazing job despite conditions that are almost incomprehensible, BUT there is still SO much to be done…

First, the good. This last trip we had two Fistula patients that our nurses found and literally rescued from the brink of death. They were discovered malnourished, dehydrated, and so emaciated that they would have undoubtedly died had our nurses not found them – all because of the stench resulting from their fistulas. They had been isolated and shunned from their community because of their condition, and our nurses found them disoriented and confused. Now, due to the great work of our team, these two ladies will not only survive, but they will be able to start anew with their fistulas fully repaired.

Now, the challenge. I would like for you to take just a few minutes and really try to imagine:

  • Having your own son, healthy and normal, suffer a seemingly minor broken leg, but then he has to have that leg amputated because it became so infected after being treated by a traditional healer in the village

  • Being in an automobile accident where six of your friends were killed and now you lie in the hospital with unknown head and abdominal injuries but haven’t been seen for over 18 hours because there is no physician around

  • Your daughter lying in a hospital bed for 5-6 days, left extremely anemic from having malaria, but because there is no blood bank for her to get blood, she will probably end up dying

  • Your father having a simple hernia that resulted in his bowels being blocked and ruptured just because he could not find anyone to see him

  • Having a sister seemingly paralyzed from the neck down in car wreck, but when she arrives at the local hospital they have no x-ray machine, no neck brace, and no way to transport her in a stabilized position to the closest hospital that has such items, which is 5-6 hours away… So, she has to ride, sitting up in an ordinary taxi cab

  • Your wife or daughter dying from a pregnancy in the tube just because when she arrived at the emergency room there was no one there to see her

  • And finally, having your small child with pneumonia hooked up to oxygen, but because the machine supplying that oxygen is powered by a generator that runs out of diesel, your child dies

These might sound like some kind of terrible stories out of a bad book or movie, but I personally witnessed every one of these events with my own eyes, either as they happened or right after. So, while I am incredibly proud of the great work our team is doing (and I want to emphasize they ARE doing great work), it is so hard not to think about how much more has to be done. As many of you know, we have been and will continue to be focused on the care of women with fistulas and/or gynecological/obstetrical issues in general, but we will hopefully soon be announcing some more defined goals and plans for accomplishing those goals with your help and support. As you can see, there is so much to do.


Darius R. Maggi M.D. 
West Africa Fistula Foundation
West Africa Fistula Foundation
3621 Pottsboro Rd #150
Denison TX 75020


Dr. Susan with Sierra Leonean Children
Paul Robinson tracking vehicle maintenance
WAFF Staff getting ride in van to hospital
Andrea & Paul Robinson going over  the day’s duties

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