Nine Patients Receive Neurosurgery in Liberia

Neurosurgery in Liberia (2017)

This Spring, KBNF was in Ghana and Liberia on another ground-shaking Neurosurgery Medical Mission. Our team of 9 joined medical professionals in Accra & Techiman, Ghana and Tappita, Liberia over a month-long mission. We'll be breaking down the successes of our time over the next few weeks and wanted to start with Dr. Paul King's work in Neurosurgery.  

Dr. King conducted neurosurgery for 9 patients in 10 days in Tappita Liberia's Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital, assisted by medical professionals from Canada, the United States, Nigeria and Liberia. He evaluated and mentored two neurosurgery residents from Liberia and Nigeria and is encouraged by the progress of these West African surgeons. Dr. King and KBNF are prepared to work closely with these progressive doctors as they develop neurosurgery in their own countries. It is wonderfully encouraging to be able to mentor and teach neurosurgery residents in West Africa, and help them as they expand service for their nations and partner with each other.  

Patients ranged from 3 weeks to 44 years old, male and female, and included surgeries from cyst & tumour removal, shunts, burrhole drainage & decompression laminectomy. This is the second series of neurosurgeries KBNF has undergone in Liberia, since 2014. KBNF continues to support the advent of Neurosurgery in Liberia by partnering with Liberia's first neurosurgeon, shipping valuable equipment and supplies, and supporting Dr. Nah Doe's skill development over the course of the years.

Dr. Laurence Sherman, Dr. Francis Kateh, Dr. Alvin Nah Doe

Image Above: (Left to Right) Dr. Laurence Sherman, Chief Administrator, Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital; Dr. Francis Kateh, Deputy Minister of Health, Liberia; Dr. Alvin Nah Doe, Liberia's first Neurosurgery Resident

Next Post: The citizens of Tappita learn Heart Power & help develop the Liberian Prosthetics Clinic.


Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital Palliative Container

Palliative Care Unit in Tetteh Quarshie

The Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital (T.Q.M.H.) was built and commissioned by the government of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in February 1961 in honour and memory of the late Tetteh Quarshie, a son of Mampong and pioneer of the Cocoa industry in Ghana. The hospital is sited on a hill on the south side of the National N4 highway route from Accra to Koforidua, Nkawkaw and Kumasi. It comprises several buildings with paved roads. A tour revealed the need unit to unit for equipment, stretchers, beds, and supplies. The 123-bed hospital serves a population of over 120,000 people spanning the entire semi-urban Akuapem Ridge, its rural valley and beyond, in Akropong, in the eastern region of Ghana (in the hills north of Accra). The hospital provides Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Ear Nose Throat, Psychiatry and Dentistry. Consequently, the hospital handles general diseases such as malaria, anaemia, respiratory diseases, hernia, fractures, pregnancy and related diseases and gynaecological diseases (Wikipedia).

They launched the first palliative care unit spring 2016, securing the support of KBNF and Share the Care.

Champion: Dr Mawuli Gyakobo is the Medical Director of the hospital while 5 – 7 doctors serve this hospital.

Team Outcomes

We had an enthusiastic visit with the Medical Director, Dr Mawuli Gyakobo, hospital administration and staff. His passion for his people is palpable. Appreciation for the Share the Care committee and KBNF / CRW was very evident. A tour was conducted of the newly renovated palliative care unit. Private rooms + a nursing station + a conference room are ready. The 1 palliative patient hospitalized was stationed on another unit. When more patients are requiring palliative care, the unit would be fully operational.

The container shipment was well received. Having only been received 2 weeks earlier, many of the items were already distributed while many more were housed in storage waiting placement. Our team was actually quite amazed how organized they were. The Chief Administrator held a handover celebration. He shared how grateful they are for our container and how valuable the contents are. So many times, when they receive donations, they are not consulted in advance and the items are not suitable. When the container doors were opened, they knew immediately that this was very different, that the contents were of excellent quality and very necessary for their hospital.
Because of the generous donation by a KBNF Founding Director, whose family has been served by this hospital for over a hundred years, we were able to announce that a large portion of another container has been funded.


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.”

A post shared by Vancouver Coastal Health (@vchcareers) on


Fall 2016 Medical Mission Nursing News

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Our Fall Mission began with the arrival of Karen Currie, RN, in Ghana on November 6th 2016. Dianne Perry, RN BSN, a recently retired Canadian nursing educator, with expertise in various specialties including surgery, obstetrics and tropical diseases, joined Karen from Europe. Dell highly recommended Dianne and KBNF was able to facilitate her Ghana Visa via Italy.

After a 2 day stay in Accra, they travelled to Techiman by air. Karen and Dianne discovered a kindred spirit. Dianne’s influence was immediate, as she commenced her day on the nursing units at 05.30 hrs. Working alongside the nurses, Dianne taught them in groups of 2s and 3s in short sprints. She was urgently called to the OR one night to help deliver a baby via C- section. Mom and baby were in crisis and it was thought that the baby would not survive. However, both mom and babe did fine, much to everyone’s relief. Triplets were born and are doing fine, coming in for regular weekly checkups. Dianne’s impact was well noted and she reports she will be pleased to return for future missions.

Hazardous nursing practises were addressed and corrected. Some of these practises we have tried to correct in the past, but were observed to have resumed. Having the by-in of various nursing leaders helped to make this transition more effective. Providing an alternative that made sense to the nurses seemed to have the desired effect. Reinforcement was necessary and will continue to be so. Another decision solidified by Dr. Kessie to enhance nursing care is that the TV perched by the nursing station would be relocated to the maternity unit. Nightshift breaks are being monitored closely and have improved.

The nursing administrators, Thomas and Robert are motivated and understand the need to advance the nursing department. They partnered closely with Karen and Dianne throughout their stay, very grateful for all the expertise. They look forward to visiting Vancouver for an educational experience.

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