Sunday was a wonderful day! Attending Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey’s Shiashie Presbyterian church in the morning, I listened to sermons in Ga, Twi and English. The congregation was most welcoming and Danny Moe gave an encouraging introductory message on Heart Power and Dare to Dream-Dare to Do. It was very well received. Our Nigerian team arrived at the service and we all celebrated two Ayettey birthdays that afternoon. We toured the Shiashie School and visited the well project at the back of the property. Presently, the water is not consumable; so as funding is available, preparations are underway to develop a filtering system. They appreciate the financial commitment of members of our KBNF family towards this project.
The rest of our KBNF mission members arrived over the weekend, with Lisa Cain coming in last on Monday afternoon. The youngest member of our team is four . . . Caleb Udoh! He’s a very bright and lively little Nigerian boy and keeps his parents hopping.
Jocelyne Lapointe and Paul King, along with Chris Honey and his son, headed over to the CME conference first thing Monday morning, presenting neuroscience talks to approximately 240 attendees from across West Africa, including our Nigerian team doctors. Jocelyne and Paul have been working for months as members of the CME planning team, arranging the neuroscience speakers, so this was an exciting day for them.
Our Nigerian neurosurgery team, led by Prof. David Udoh, is so very inspiring and full of love and passion for the advancement of neurosurgery care for their people. Monday morning, the nurses and I headed over to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, to work on chart documentation upgrades for West African hospitals. We were joined by critical care nurses and educators. A review of critical care pathway development, automated doctors’ orders and various protocol and assessment sheets was positive and we are now working on the draft documents that will be trialed. The purpose of these revised documents is: 1. Time saver 2. Reduces errors 3. Accountability. David Udoh is prepared to begin using automated doctors’ orders “within 1 week,” so I need to work swiftly to ensure I have the first installment ready for his return home on Friday. I understand that Military 37 are willing to participate in a trial run, so that is exciting as well. My dream is to contemporize the documentation system so that West Africa is on the cutting edge of development.
Tuesday saw a day of multitasking, while the doctors headed to the CME Conference, with the focus primarily on neuroscience while the nurses headed to Korle-Bu to attend Danny’s Dare to Dream-Dare to Do Academy in the KBTH Boardroom. 7 Ghanaian and Nigerian nurses expressed they would never be the same after the very inspiring day, with all of them identifying many of their life dreams and how they would achieve them. They also learned that impossible dreams = God dreams, and we are dream carriers in these dreams. The outcome is well beyond anything that we could imagine and the details for realizing these dreams is out of our control . . . so much excitement was generated by the day.
Lisa and I met with Prof. Fred Addai, Chair of Anatomy, University of Ghana, for the morning as plans for the launching of the neuroscience research graduate program were confirmed. Lisa will share on the developments in a blog post. It was so exciting to feel the enthusiasm generated by our efforts. Fred shared that this is so very timely and now that he has two new anatomy professors along with two more young professors returning in a year, there is the expectation that this can be the beginning of a very productive research program. The key areas that are being pursued concomitantly include spinal, cerebral malaria (vast majority of deaths in children), and stroke research. We believe that these three areas alone will inspire much collaboration and interest around the world.
Fred, Lisa and I met with Provost Aaron Lawson and reviewed the plans for the establishment of the neuroscience research program. Many details were discussed and a press release was forwarded by the Provost after our visit. We also discussed the upcoming construction of the CHS hospital in East Legon, University of Ghana campus. These are exciting times, as Parliament has now approved the loan for this project. Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey is Chair of the project and is also fully engaged in preparations for the upcoming construction, expected in September.
To close out a full day, the nurses worked with Lisa Cain and me on documentation, identifying that we need two pilot projects in order to effectively transition these documents throughout the region. UBTH’s neurosurgery team is very committed to this project. A Ghanaian unit will also be seconded for a trial run. Lisa Cain, Research Chair, is preparing a research study for the project that will determine the effectiveness of these new documents and their value to nurses and doctors.
In the evening, our team met for dinner and games were enjoyed during the meal. Asking medical questions for gifts was much more successful than asking geography questions about Canada! Education about the capital of Canada ensued, as well as several other lessons. Lots of fun! Afterwards, five remained in the dining room to watch The King’s Speech, my favourite movie, on my laptop.
Wednesday again was a full and exciting day for the team, as we held the first KBTH-KBNF Neuroscience two-day Conference at KBTH. Seth Ayettey and Afua Hesse opened the conference with me. As Chairman, Seth gave greetings on behalf of the KBTH Board and the President that appointed them, and opened the conference in prayer. 100 attendees from various regions of Ghana, as well as Nigeria, are in attendance through to tomorrow. Dr. Thomas Dakurah ably moderated the 1st session. Chris Honey gave a riveting power point on head injury management – maximizing outcomes, identifying that while primary head injury is not in our power to prevent, secondary head injury is. Paul followed with a beautiful power point presentation on stroke management and intracerebral hematomas. The audience avidly questioned the speakers on their presentations and related material, challenging them with questions including how to handle neurosurgical crises when essential equipment such as a CT Scanner or a ventilator are not available. Chris’s response was that there is usually something that can be tried based on the history and exam alone – including lateralizing signs, without a CT scan, to definitively identify the source of deterioration. He said you do your best with what you have and sleep well at night. The first session was rounded off by Danny Moe, commencing his lively and motivational Heart Power Academy seminar. He is delivering the seminar in four phases over the two-day conference. Many expressed a desire to hear his complete seminars. On Saturday, there is a full Academy Day at the hospital for anyone who would like to attend. The sign-up sheet was filling up fast, last time I looked.
In the afternoon, we split into two groups, with Lisa and me teaching the nurses and Paul and Chris teaching the physicians. Cranial nerves and raised intracranial pressure were expertly covered by Lisa, whose background is in neuro-anatomy; while a neuro nurse and I reviewed neurovital sign assessment, followed by behavioural challenges in the neuro patient and coping mechanisms for the nurses. There was much laughter in the midst of learning. Michael Honey spent hours writing up all the attendees’ names on conference certificates, taking such care and attention to get the names spelled right. Jocelyne taught neuroradiology at the CME conference, while Paul and Chris continued their teaching at our KBTH-KBNF conference, teaching trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis and treatment options and spine injury management. The day’s conference sessions concluded with Danny giving part two of Heart Power – attitude is gratitude! Following the final session, a wonderful reception was provided for all the attendees. Prof. Nii Otu Nartey attended and greeted the guests, while Prof. Afua Hesse was busy signing the lovely conference certificates.
With no time to spare, our team headed over to the Department of Anatomy at 6 p.m., for the special event of celebrating the commencement of the neuroscience research graduate program. Neurosurgeons, anatomists, KBTH hospital administrator, Afua Hesse, and KBNF members were in attendance, while Lisa gave a wonderful power point talk on the development of the international research collaborative. A reception, graciously hosted by Fred Addai and his department, concluded the evening. Exhaustion set in as our team called it a day and peacefully headed home to the hotel, led by our expert KBTH driver.
A discussion about a Ghanaian woman that is in desperate need of a craniotomy, for removal of a difficult brain tumour, was broached today. This woman’s husband found KBNF during an Internet search and sent a heart wrenching email asking for help. Afua Hesse and Patrick Banka, KBTH neurosurgeon, are collaborating with Paul and Chris in determining if they can help this woman and her distraught husband before the end of the week. Expert support from our team could perhaps give her a chance at a future.
We’re ready for day two of our conference. I am so thrilled that of all the participants today, only one confirmed he would not be back and we understand more will be joining us tomorrow. So I’m hoping we have enough certificates for everyone. . .