Container Arrives at UBTH – Nigeria

Below is an email sent to me from David Udoh. He was on hand for the delivery of a container to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, Nigeria.

Dear Marj,

In the images (please see the Image Gallery), I was presenting the two anaesthetic machines and other things – on behalf of KBNF – to Dr. Alfred Ogbemudia, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and the Hospital’s Chairman, Medical Advisory Comittee (who received the container on arrival in the absence of Prof. Michael Ibadin, Consultant Paediatrician, the hospital’s CMD).

Dr. Tudjegbe, Consultant Anaesthesiologist, was available to receive all the items for his department the same day. He is in that picture (in glasses) with the CMAC (in suit) and I (in white overall) as we stood with the anaesthetic machines.

Same way, I invited consultants and nurse managers working with them and gave all items to them according to departments on behalf of KBNF. Boxes of supplies went to all operating rooms, Urology, Radiology (several boxes of books), Neurosurgery (including beds, furniture, uniforms, gift items, etc.), CTU, Plastic, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy, Orthopedics, Accidents and Emergency, Anesthesiology, ENT.

Wow! They couldn’t exhaust the tracheostomy tubes even if they tried in a long while, office equip and on and on and on. The operating table (oh, what a beauty that was), the heaviest single item in that container has been mounted in the OR suite.

To you, all the brothers and sisters at KBNF, all the volunteers and other wonderful people we may never meet.

May the Lord whisper your name.

Meeting you and your kind of love so radically affected my life, my practice and my aspirations . I no longer wonder why the Lord brought me to this town. You are helping me to fulfill purpose. Indeed, you have all been to me like “Helpers of Destiny”.

May you find help in the time of need.

Ever thankful,


Report on Conference on Surgery and Anesthesia in Uganda

Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Dr. John Sampson and Joanna Ashworth, Director, SFU

Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Dr. John Sampson and Joanna Ashworth, Director, SFU

April 2, 2011 Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, B.C.

This 2nd conference, hosted by the UBC Branch for International Surgery, held to enhance surgical care partnerships in Uganda through strategic collaboration, brought together over 80 professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, etc.) from Canada, the USA and Uganda, to discuss how to foster strong scholarly collaborations, how to meet the challenges of developing a strong health care system, how to scale responsibilities (ex.: shift tasks to non-physicians) and how to create strong egalitarian partnerships.

Because similar challenges face KBNF in Ghana and West Africa (Uganda being in East Africa, on the western border of Kenya), Dr. John Sampson, Neuro-anesthesiologist and President of DrUMM (KBNF’s USA partner) and Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Neuroradiologist and KBNF Chair of Education attended the meeting.

Some of the ways discussed to advance the vision and mission of our organizations include:

  • Creating partnerships with medical, nursing and allied health training programs and integrating the needs of the curricula with visits from overseas volunteers. These collaborations must benefit the African institutions, in particular their infrastructure and their research capabilities. Reciprocity between institutions would be ideal.
  • Because primary training in Europe and North America does not result in an increase in trained individuals on home ground, short training periods with very specific skills sets would be useful, in addition to training as close to home as possible.
  • Reasonable career paths for graduates and sustainable income for professionals need to be addressed by local governments for retention to occur.
  • Use of teleconferencing (Skype) and coordinating committee (Google Calendar) to help avoid repetitions/redundancies and to promote transparency, to foster mutual respect and advance mutually agreed to goals.

A Thank You to Administrative Coordinator, Norm Glass

KBNF extends heartfelt gratitude to Norman Glass, who served as Administrative Coordinator, for six years. Norm’s expertise in printing and publishing served our foundations well, along with his gregarious personality and devotion to our project and members, both at home and abroad. Norm always had the KBTH hospital numbers close at hand, expecting many a call day and night from somewhere in the world asking the whereabouts or status of a family member at KBTH.

Ruth Glass wonderfully hosted our Executive Committee meetings over the years, setting a tone of family at each meeting.

Once again, thank you Norm and Ruth.

Your Support is Needed

Dear KBNF Family and Friends,

It is with gratitude that we extend our deepest appreciation to you, our family and friends, for the support that you have given us over the past decade. To fulfill our vision and mission, we have been blessed with tangible donations including your expertise, your time, and your finances. Danny Moe says that: “Compassion without coin is only good intentions.”  You went beyond good intentions and took action.  Thank you for your faith filled investment.

Full Tool Kit

Last fall, as I pondered how to effectively describe what KBNF is all about for our Fraser Valley business community, I thought of my contractor dad’s tool belt, always worn throughout his workday. Without nails, a hammer would be of limited use. Taking it a step further, trying to strike in nails without a hammer would be difficult and inefficient. Another implement could be used but would slow things down.

Let me give you a prime example as it relates to developments in West Africa. Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is a recipient of donated quality ventilators and cardiac monitors. That equipment will only be of value, of sustainable worth, if the African medical and nursing staff have the knowledge to use them and the biomedical engineers have the expertise and resources to maintain and repair them. If parts are delayed because the manufacturer does not consider this consumer a priority, then again, the tool kit is deficient and frustration and discouragement sets in. Equipment + Biomedical training + mentoring + maintenance are essential tools.  Without them, the tragic bottom-line is that precious lives are lost unnecessarily and that’s what this is all about. Providing the necessary tools to save lives and give a first rate chance to enjoy a quality and long life.

Here is another prime tool kit analogy: African nationals training abroad have known that returning home to practice in their specialty would not allow them to practice at the level of their newly acquired world-class expertise. Not wanting to lose their skills, they would remain abroad to fulfill their life dream and another precious national resource and investment would be tragically lost to their homeland, time and time again. We believe that if they were confident that the resources were awaiting their arrival and practice, these specialists would head home as pioneers and pillars to care for their people.

What has transpired over the past century is provision of goodwill in the form of essential tools, but what has been missing was a full tool kit; one in which Africans could rise to their full potential and effectively and independently deliver health care, education, training and research in their homeland, and gain full equal world partner status.

Partnering with Ghana

Partnering with Ghana, the regional leader nation as they transition to middle level income society, we are focused on providing:

  • Biomedical training support;
  • KBTH neurosurgery unit structural repairs;
  • Infrastructure master plans and programs comparable to what is prepared here in North America (NA) for their eagerly anticipated NA standard health care facilities;
  • Advancement of neurosurgery, neurology, and emergency education and training;
  • Plus development of a West African neuro-research department.

With the optimistic ripple effect throughout the region, I might add, we are endeavouring to help ensure they are equipped with a complete 21st Century medical tool kit. We are also preparing medical and teaching missions to Ghana and Liberia this summer. But it is a challenge, dear family and friends, unless sufficient funding is available.

Make an Investment to KBNF

KBNF Canada is working very hard to advance our effectiveness as we reach out across the Atlantic to partner with Ghana and West Africa. Consequently, KBNF sports a new look and new website, thanks to a generous corporate sponsor and assistance of a communications PR firm.

As with Ghana, KBNF needs a full tool kit in order to sustain our organizational operations and partner effectively to fulfill the various urgently needed projects. Many of our urgent projects are in holding patterns, as we work to raise the critically needed funds.

Please join with me and our project members and give generously to our worthy cause. A gift of any size is so very much appreciated. Perhaps you can underwrite a project. We would be so pleased to have a project named after you or someone of your choosing.

To make an investment to save lives, please visit our donate page.

We are only a phone call away if you have any questions: 1.877.468.6380.

Your faithfulness each step of the way has enabled us to gather sufficient tools together for each project. Thank you.

Marjorie Ratel RN BSN


Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation / Korle-Bu Foundation [Canada]


Korle-Bu Neuroscience Project

KBNF 2011 Membership Call & AGM

Here is a call to all our Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation members and anyone who would like to become a member.

The time has come to renew your 2011 membership. (Thank you if this is already done.) By renewing your membership (dues are $20 per calendar year for regular members and $10 per school year for students), you support the continuing efforts of a small group of volunteers who are making a difference in West Africa.

I hope you will join us for this year’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday, April 28th. (It is one of the privileges of membership.)

Please print out and fill-in the KBNF 2011 Membership Renewal form. (If you are interested in becoming a new member, please fill out the membership renewal form. We will be in touch soon.)

Thank you for your continued support.