VCH Features KBNF President Marj Ratel

“In neuroscience nursing, a nurse’s skills and intuition are critical to the wellbeing of our patient population,” says Marjorie, registered nurse at Vancouver General Hospital’s neurosciences unit. “In most disciplines, a patient can advocate for themselves. For example, a baby can wail, a patient experiencing chest pain can cry out. However, in the neuroscience population when a patient is deteriorating, they are dependent on the observational skills and actions of the primary caregivers. They have lost the ability to advocate for themselves. Often, a neuro nurse is required to use their 6th sense in determining a patient is in trouble. ‘Something just doesn’t feel right.’ Narrowing down the cause and proactively informing the physicians may prevent permanent disability or worse. Early detection can be the difference between life and death, returning home fully recovered or transferring to rehabilitation or longterm care.” In addition to her busy life as a neuro nurse, Marjorie also finds time to operate a charitable organization named, “Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation.” In February 2000, while working in the NICU in an educator capacity, a West African neurosurgeon approached her and asked if she would consider traveling to Ghana in order to train his nurses. The outcome: 16+ years of VGH and BC Health Authorities participation in supporting some of the most vulnerable regions in West Africa. Providing hospital equipment, beds, recycled consumables, educational support, surgical and medical expertise – Marjorie has made it her mission to balance the scales in favour of care. She recalls, “during the Ebola outbreak, our international team of neurosurgeons, nurses, RTs and biomedical engineer conducted neurosurgery on 20 patients in the eastern jungle of Liberia. Lives were transformed, tumours were extracted and lives restored. During Ebola’s height, hundreds of hospital beds along with humanitarian aid were shipped over to this most vulnerable region. They felt like someone truly cared, something that had been almost extinguished. It brought hope that a new day would dawn. The Liberian Minister of Health visited VGH post Ebola to give official thanks.”

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Can you Hear the Angels Sing?

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Vraeyda Media announces the release of Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey’s first book Can You Hear the Angels Sing?, a memoir on grace, faith and healing in West Africa. Both adventure and treatise on humanitarian efforts, Can You Hear the Angels Sing? is a glimpse into the breath of the miraculous, and the heart of a modern day humanitarian.

In October 2010, Professor and Pastor Seth Ayettey was assaulted in his home. Shot and left for dead, he and his family experienced a series of miracles that culminated in a choir of angels. Now you can read his memoiron experiencing the best and worst of mankind, and how grace will save lives.

In collaboration with Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation, partial proceeds of Can You Hear the Angels Sing? will be donated to enrich health care and education in West Africa.

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Analyses of the Types of Neurological Disorders

Amara Uzoma-Uzo, Third Year Medical Student UTMB School of Medicine Class of 2015

Analyses of the Types of Neurological Disorders- Korle-Bu Hospital 2012

Amara shares:

“During the summer of 2012,  I was fortunate enough to visit Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. While there, I participated in a project that analyzed the  types of neurological disorders that presented at the Korle-Bu Hospital. I hope to continue working with the faculty and physicians there so that Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital can continue to maintain its excellent standard of care.”


Rheumatic Heart Disease – Renewed Attention to an Old Problem

Rosalyn Adigun, MD PharmD 2013 Graduate, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Rheumatic Heart Disease – Renewed Attention to an Old Problem-Ghana 2013

Rosalyn shares:

“During my second visit to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (March — April 2013),  I was interested in evaluating the burden of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) diagnosed via echocardiography  in the patients at the National Cardiothoracic Center located on the grounds of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra Ghana.

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in developing countries and with the transatlantic migration of people for various reasons, it is increasingly important  to implement better surveillance by health care personnel  in developed nations.  Although the preceding infection Acute Rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD are rare in developed countries, they pose major public health problems among children and young adults in developing countries where these diseases are endemic with their most devastating sequelae presenting during the most productive years of the affected population.

The objective of my project was to evaluate the burden of RHD in Ghana by evaluating the echocardiography data in patients evaluated at the National Cardiothoracic Center Accra Ghana between November 2010 and November 2012. I was able to review over 9000 echocardiograms conducted during this period, and the World Heart Federation criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis of RHD was used to determine if a patient met the criteria for RHD.

While there are still limitations to capturing the real burden of the RHD in Ghana, this information learned from the project will provide evidence-based information to clinicians in educating patients, establishing surveillance programs, and providing better care to patients presenting with RHD. I hope to submit an abstract of my research findings for publication in the near future.”


KBNF Recognizes UTMB Research Students

The Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) Recognizes Students from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston who have performed Health-Care Research in Accra, Ghana.

A goal of the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) is to encourage student interest in the continued development of healthcare and medical research in West Africa. As Chair of Research for KBNF, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosciences and Cell Biology and as a University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor, I find it significant to inform students of the importance of viewing healthcare, education and research on a global level.  I relay to them my experience with the KBNF, in regards to assisting in creating a team to develop a neuroscience research program at the University of Ghana.

We want to recognize the outstanding students from UTMB who dedicated their time and service to contribute to health-care and research in West Africa. I served as a faculty mentor to the students listed below and The Global Health Program at UTMB provided financial support and additional mentoring to the students for their travel to Ghana. Posted on our website the coming week are comments from Rosalyn Adigun, MD PharmD,  Roslyn Oduro and Amara Uzoma-Uzo regarding their experience in Ghana. We congratulate these ladies for their unselfish commitment to others.

Lisa Cain, Ph.D.

Chair, Research for the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation