A Taste of Koutiala

By Jason Foster, MD, serving at Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children, Mali, West Africa

The following in adapted excerpt from Dr. Jason’s recent update.

I want to tell you about some amazing children who probably wouldn’t be alive today if they hadn’t received medical care outside of their villages. Thankfully, they were able to come to Koutiala. 


Innovation Saving Lives

François and Kadia were very ill upon their arrival at the hospital and were quickly diagnosed with leukemia. Both have now spent months here, but they have responded extremely well to treatment and are in remission! These days, we typically can find them riding around on the toy cars we have here for our small patients.

We almost lost François, though. He went home for Easter weekend, developed a life-threatening infection, and was rushed to the hospital on the back of a motorcycle. I didn’t think he’d make it, but he has done well and is back to smiling and getting his chemo treatments. But he gave us quite a scare. 

I’m really in awe of what my colleagues have accomplished here in a place where supplies and medicines can be so limited. Despite the restrictions, they’ve learned how to treat leukemia with the right chemotherapy. You need to understand that general pediatricians in the States don’t treat this disease—children diagnosed with leukemia go to specialists. 


Beating Diabetes

Fatoumata came to us about two months ago—extremely weak and barely able walk. When I was evaluating her, she said she wasn’t sleeping well because she woke up so often to go to the bathroom.  When we checked her blood sugar, it was too high to register. Diagnosis: diabetes.

Hers is the first case of Type I Diabetes to be diagnosed at Koutiala; the sad fact is that we see few diabetics because so few survive. 

This is a huge challenge for all of us, especially for Fatoumata. She comes from a village without electricity and refrigeration to keep medicines; meanwhile, she’s going to require insulin for the rest of her life. This little girl also doesn’t read or write, yet she needs to learn to give herself injections. 

We’re working on these challenges. Fatoumata is being taught to read during her time here at the hospital. She’s also learning to draw her own insulin and inject herself. And we’re researching a way to keep her insulin relatively cool (buried in a clay pot in the ground). 

So now you have a little taste of our work here at Koutiala. Despite the difficulties we face at times, I’m so happy to be here. I have no doubt that this is where the Lord wants me to be.

What You Can Do

Pray for François, Kadia, and Fatoumata to know the healing, loving presence of their heavenly Father. Pray that Koutiala staff workers would daily experience the Lord’s peace, wisdom, and strength, contending with limited resources while treating numbers of children with life-threatening illnesses.

Read an article about how Alliance Great Commission Ministries is saving Malian orphans’ lives.

Learn More

“We had a team from the States here in February, helping with three days of village medical outreach,” Dr. Jason wrote in his postscript. “It was amazing! [There’s] no room in this update to describe it, but I’ve downloaded some photos on my blog if you’re interested.” Note: Clicking on this link will take you off of the C&MA Web site.


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