Life Changing Day – Liberia 2017

-Edmonia is a 14-year-old girl who has been incontinent her entire life due to a kidney birth defect. For what could have been a long and complicated surgery, Dr. David Vandersteen and Dr. Janelle Fox were pleased to report the procedure was a success. Now, instead of being ostracized by her peers and feeling ashamed, Edmonia’s quality of life has been transformed, making her one of our biggest successes. Her life was truly changed today.

-Newborn Lucia,  you may recall she had surgery yesterday for omphalocele, is recovering well. She is successfully nursing and bonding with her mother.

-CSI ward nurse Louann Randall and Tetee Urey-Morris, charge nurse for Duside Firestone’s women’s unit, presented washable feminine hygiene kits to about 20 post-natal moms at the hospital and taught them how to use them. The kits were from Days for Girls, an international nonprofit organization that distributes the kits in Third World countries.

-Dr. Phil Chaffin lectured on cleft lip and cleft palate to about 30 Liberian nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners and students.

Amid the successes, all of us see multiple reminders of how much need is here that we cannot attend to, due to limited time, medical personnel and financial resources. Our hearts have been broken by a 1-year-old girl with a large cancerous tumor and a 4-year-old girl hospitalized after being sexually assaulted. But while we are facing the realities of the world, we feel grateful to be here doing what we can.

Sally Lannin and three other CSI team members (Ellen Hoeg, Janet Darden and Zanny Lannin) had the opportunity to visit the West Point area of Monrovia today, ground zero for the Ebola epidemic. This community has 100,000 residents packed into a very small area with one physician. Open sewage, school children with no books, and shacks made of corrugated metal sheets are facts of life in their community. Katie Meyler (featured last November in People magazine’s article 25 Women Who Are Changing The World) was their guide. See to learn more, and understand why she received this honor. Katie’s school, More Than Me Academy, provides high quality education for 180 girls. We were able to donate medications, and we gave them personal hygiene kits made by These kits are intended to prevent infection, and promote school attendance during menstruation. Thanks to team member, Louann Randall RN, for bringing the kits from the U.S.

We are networking with key community leaders here in Liberia to be sure the neediest kids get connected to us.

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