Mother and Doctor of Miracle Conjoined Twins from DRC Come Together to Tell a Tragic Tale of Malaria Five Years On

GUELH, Ontario, March 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- You may remember the remarkable story of the conjoined twins Anick and Destin who were the first to be successfully separated in the DR Congo back in 2017, thanks to a medical evacuation flight provided by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and flown by Canadian pilot Brett Reierson.

Last year, MAF staff realized the twins would be turning five years old and began the task of locating the family to see how the twins were doing. After a difficult, month-long search with the help of Dr. Mudji – who organized their separation surgery – the family was found in their very rural village. Sadly, it was devastating news: Destin had passed away in her mother’s arms from malaria before the twins’ first birthday.

With World Malaria Day approaching on April 25th, we wanted to give the family and Dr. Mudji a chance to tell their stories and talk about the impact that Malaria has on children in the DR Congo.

In late 2022, Claudine – Anick’s mother – agreed to come by MAF flight to the Vanga Hospital, along with Dr. Mudji, to shed light on the devastating realities of malaria in the DRC – where 12% of the world’s cases can be found.

Dr. Mudji spoke about the conjoined twins, and his ongoing battle to fight malaria in the remote regions of DRC, “I couldn’t believe how one could die of an easily treatable condition. I was furious and angry. Every time a child under five dies because of malaria it is a tragedy. It was a shock to find out, but at the same time, it's common in my hospital. Almost every day we have a child dying of malaria.” He continued, ”We need help. It's difficult to accept when a child has been saved from a very difficult situation and then died from a preventable disease - this shows the inequality and inequity we have in our global health care."

Despite the tragic circumstances, Canadian pilot Brett Reierson was overjoyed to see the family again, and it felt like a reunion of friends, “She recognized me right away as the pilot who had flown her family to Kinshasa for the separation surgery. She greeted me like an old friend and thanked me for the role MAF played in their lives.”

Jaclyn Reierson was also there to greet the family, and offered a heartfelt gift to Destin’s mother, “It has been a privilege to serve and support this family through MAF as they’ve faced moments of fear, joy, tragedy, and hope. Claudine cried when I gave her a printed photo I had taken of her twin girls after they were separated five years ago. She told me that was the only picture she had of her daughter who had died.”

Brett and Jaclyn Reierson are currently on furlough in Canada and are available to be interviewed. A full collection of photo assests are available for print, courtesy of MAF.

For more than 75 years, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has been bringing help, hope and healing through aviation to some of the most isolated places on earth. Today, we partner with over 2,000 organizations to deliver support, supplies, staff, spiritual care, and community development to thousands of communities where flying is not a luxury but a lifeline.

CONTACT: Brad Bell, CEO | 1-877-351-9344 |
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Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

conjoinedtwins Doctor and surviving Twin Flying home Motherand Annik