A twelve year old Senegalese boy named Mamadou emerged from the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York with a huge smile and the absence of the large nasal encephlocele that has marred his face since birth.  The transformation was the generous gift of Dr. James T. Goodrich, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Dr. David A. Staffenberg, Director of Craniofacial Surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Celebrated as the leaders of the medical team that successfully separated conjoined twins in 2005, the world renowned physicians donated their services to remove the encephlocele, insert a bone taken from the skull to construct the bridge of Mamadou’s nose and remove residual excess skin.

This pro bono medical intervention was made possible through the networking activities of the African American Islamic Institute’s (AAII’s) African Children’s Medical Network project, an outgrowth of AAII’s  earlier strategic partnership with Children’s Chance through which the initial contact with Dr. Goodrich was made by Mrs. Dorita Urrata.  The hospital costs associated with Mamadou’s care were contributed by the First Hand Foundation. AAII successfully interacted with the U.S. Embassy in Dakar to facilitate the issuance of their visas to come to the U.S. for medical treatment, raised the funds required to purchase their visa applications and round trip air fare and identified a host for Mamadou and his mother, in whose home they are staying until Mamadou is able to return to Senegal.

Mamadou’s medical condition was brought to the attention of AAII‘s African Children’s Medical Network by Cheikh Saite Sall, President of Assidq Wa Sadiqin, an NGO in Dakar. Once Mamadou has been medically cleared to return to Senegal, he will attend school for the very first time.  An American donor has made a commitment to pay his tuition at the Assidq Wa Sadiqin Islamic School in Dakar, where he will receive both academic and religious education. This family will always be grateful to Drs. Goodrich and Staffenberg and to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

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