Masiray Kamara was born with a congenital kyphoscoliosis, which meant that as she continued to grow, her spine would both twist along its length and bend forward at a point in the middle of her back. By age 9, Masiray was already paralyzed to the point that she could no longer stand on her own without support or without leaning against a wall. Her condition was on track to worsen as she experienced growing spurts throughout adolescence, causing her spine to twist further and leaving her totally disabled.
In January, 2018, Africa Surgery sent Masiray to Accra, Ghana, where she spent several months in a halo- traction device at the hospital of the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) (website: www.orthofocos.org). Masiray then underwent surgery at the FOCOS hospital to straighten and stabilize her spine with implants. She returned to Freetown, Sierra Leone on August 4, 2018. Masiray is again living with her family and will begin attending school for the first time now that her paralysis has been arrested, and her ability to stand and to walk has been restored.
In January, it was determined that five-year-old Yatta Bokarie’s tumor-like protrusion on the middle of her face was increasing in size and that it was connected to her brain. Yatta was not seen by us, but had been seen only by Dr. Hans Arndt, a reconstructive-plastic-surgeon visiting Sierra Leone from Germany. While I was still in Sierra Leone, I emailed Yatta’s X-rays and brief medical history to Dr. David Nolen at the Kijabe Hospital in Kenya (www.kijabehospital.org). Dr. Nolen confirmed that the neural surgeons at Kijabe could treat Yatta in Kenya, and Dr. Arndt consented to let Africa Surgery send Yatta there.
Because Yatta and her family live in a remote village with no cell-phone coverage, they could not be reached by phone, and no one knew the village’s name or where it was. We had messages broadcast over the radio, and within two days Yatta was located. In May, 2018, Yatta was finally sent to Kenya for surgical treatment. Yatta returned to Sierra Leone on August 4, 2018. Her face and her future are much brighter now.
Santigi Sesay, 7, lives in a small village in Sierra Leone. He has been suffering from an infection of his left jaw, resulting from a decayed tooth. He stayed with relatives in Freetown, the capital city, for almost two months to undergo oral surgery. The decayed bone was removed and the infection was brought under control.
We hope that in a few months he will be fully recovered and able to eat solid foods again. When he and his Mom stopped by to greet me after his the procedure, he was unable to enjoy his beloved hard candy. He was sad! Hopefully that will change soon!
Jackson Kamara, 72, was almost blind when he came to us. We took Jackson to the Baptist Eye hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, where he had cataract surgery in his right eye on March 1 and to his left eye on March 4.
I went to visit him on March 5. He had regained vision in his right eye and he told us: “I am very, very happy.” As soon as his left eye patch is removed, he will see clearly from both eyes.
Aminata Kamara, 37, was disabled by polio as a child. Years ago, Aminata earned a certificate in tailoring at vocational school, but she never managed to acquire a sewing machine. She could only do piece-work in other tailors’ shops, and only if a machine equipped with a hand crank was available.
Africa Surgery gave Aminata a sewing machine, powered by hand, which was donated and shipped from Holland. Africa Surgery also designed and built an adjustable table and chair for her, using 2 surplus walkers and some boards. Aminata, who lives with her husband and two children on a settlement for polio victims, now is able to work from home.
We are a unique organization in that we use 100% of of the funds donated here for the medical and surgical care of Sierra Leonean children and adult patients. No part of these funds go for administrative costs.
In Sierra Leone, simple surgeries cost slightly over $100. No donation is too small. Every dollar counts.
Africa Surgery, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit. Your donations are tax-deductible in the United States.