The HEART POWER workshop is powerfully based on the “If you capture the heart, you capture the person” concept. The four powerful ancient stories with their life changing principles were well received everywhere.
The DARE to DREAM: DARE to DO workshop was shared as a personal course for interested members and conference registrants. In this course, adherents are helped in finding, founding, funding, and FTFTing (following through, finishing too) their gifts and dreams. Many are continuing to pursue their passions.
Please click here for more information on KBNF workshops.
In May 2011, Marjorie Ratel spent 10 days in Ghana as a member of a team organized by DrUMM and Dr. John Sampson (Johns Hopkins Hospital) to teach critical care nursing to physicians and nurses at two to three-day seminars held in diverse locations across the country. At the end of that month, during a visit to Vancouver, Prof Nii Otu Nartey, Chief Administrator of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital agreed that KBTH would sponsor Dr. Gladys Fodjour (KBTH ophthalmologist) for a “cornea, uveitis and medical retina” fellowship at the Eye Care Centre of the Vancouver General Hospital, starting in July 2012.
Also in May 2011, Marj and I attended a conference in Montreal put on by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), on the development of neurosurgical simulators and their use in training neurosurgical trainees. In August, KBTH accepted to be a site for training. Program directors in Neurosurgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada eventually declined to be involved at the time because “while promising, the current status of neurosurgical simulators does not meet training requirements.” The NRC is currently pursuing grant money to install a simulator at KBTH, to work in collaboration with neurosurgeons from the University of Toronto, to determine how useful this type of technology would be in training surgeons in underserviced areas of the world in “simple” neurosurgical techniques.
On August 3 & 4, 2011, a two-day Neuroscience Conference organized by KBNF with the assistance of the KBTH Director of Medical Affairs, Professor Afua Hesse, was held at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, attended by over 100 people. One or more presentations on topics ranging from nursing care of the neurological patient to trauma, surgical relief of pain, use of imaging in diagnosis, palliative care and how to improve oneself were made by the following KBNF members: Dr. Lisa Cain, Dr. Chris Honey, Dr. Paul King, Marj Ratel, Danny Moe, guest Mrs. Dawn MacDonald (Port Moody’s Crossroads Hospice) and myself. Anticipating the next Neuroscience Conference, the participants requested topics related to pediatrics (ex: congenital abnormalities, care of ill child) and critical care (esp. for better care of spinal cord injured patients).
This Neuroscience Conference was held concurrently with the 1st Medical Fiesta of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, a week-long conference held from August 1-5 at the College in Accra and organized with the help of the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation (GPSF, Atlanta). I was the KBNF representative on the bi-weekly conference calls held to organize this meeting. More than 250 physicians from Ghana and neighboring countries participated. Dr. David Udoh, the Nigerian neurosurgeon visited at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in November 2009 by the Neurosurgical Mission team, brought a team of six people (from nursing, neurosurgery, and anesthesia) to attend both conferences. Many Fiesta presenters were Ghanaians from the North American diaspora. Presentations were made by Dr. King (Head Injury; Cervical Spine Injury, Acute Stroke), Dr. Honey (Functional Neurosurgery; Trigeminal Neuralgia and its Treatment) and myself (Brain Injury on MRI). I also provided a radiology workshop on Acute Stroke to three groups of physicians.
Following the Fiesta Conference, I carried out an External Review of the KBTH Radiology Department, its Radiology Training Program and of the Medical Radiography Training Program of the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana. My findings were presented verbally to assembled authorities and then submitted in a 36-page report.
During the autumn of 2011, work was completed on two topics for the Internet curriculum for neurosurgery residents being developed by Dr. M. Hodaie (University of Toronto). The first, on Radiographic Contrast Media for Neuroscience Clinicians was presented at KBTH Neurosurgery Rounds in March 2012 and the other, on the Current Uses of Plain Film Radiography in April 2012.
Following receipt of the External Review and at the request of KBTH in order to help improve various aspects of its Radiology Department, I relocated to KBTH for one to two years and started work there on February 1, 2012. Since then, a formal presentation to the radiology residents on Facet Joints has been given, as well as daily interactions with residents, one on one teaching and attendance at most of the Residents Teaching Rounds as well as Neurosurgery Rounds – twice a week. Currently, radiology education materials are found by the residents on the Internet, while hard copies of texts and journals in the residents’ library are old to ancient. Access to a number of current texts on CDs is being sought. The latest KBNF container shipment received by the University of Ghana’s School of Pharmacy in February 2012 contained 17 boxes of medical and nursing books, to augment various libraries on campus.
My current goal is to help enhance the Radiology and the Medical Radiography training programs in all possible ways during the next year, to allow their graduates to provide optimum imaging services to the Ghanaian population and form an excellent core faculty/personnel for the Radiology departments now being implemented in hospitals across the country by the Ghana government.
The addition of committee members from different backgrounds is being sought to help it broaden its scope of future activities.
“Not without a cost” speaks of our family’s steadfast commitment. As with any dream, there is always sacrifice. Many members of our team contribute immense hours and days to fulfill the objectives of the foundation. Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, KBNF secretary and neuroradiologist, embodies that commitment. She has relocated to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) to support the development of the radiology department. The journey’s beginnings have not been easy. Challenges abound pursuing a work visa. Yet undaunted, Jocelyne painstakingly makes trip after trip to police headquarters and other government agencies, often travelling slowly for hours at a time on congested city streets, while remaining focused on the bigger picture. Our KBNF trailblazer, I cannot imagine anyone else that could break through these barriers with unremitting patience and unswerving determination. We can be assured that the process will be well defined and well thought-out for future members.
Thank you, Jocelyne, on behalf of our Foundation family and the country of Ghana. Many precious lives will depend upon your commitment. And many team members will take courage and follow in your stead.
August 2011 saw the advent of our annual KBTH – KBNF Neuroscience Conference, held in Accra and was attended by Ghanaians, Nigerians from University of Benin Teaching Hospital, and Liberian nurses. Our expert team of neurosurgeons, specialists, neuro-anatomist, and nurses received very high marks for program content and delivery; in fact, a useful (23.8%) to extremely useful (67.9%) reviews from the attendees with a request of conducting conferences quarterly (18%), semi-annually (33%) and annually (34%). We are indebted to the amazing team that took time away from their families and work and presented in-depth and heartfelt expert presentations.
Another exciting first, the establishment of the Research Neuroscience Graduate Program under the auspices of the University of Ghana School of Medicine’s Anatomy Department, became a reality. Dr. Lisa Cain, KBNF Research Chair, is partnering with Prof. Fred Addai, Chair of Anatomy department, to create an international neuroscience research centre that will impact the world. Our goal of establishing centres of excellence in Africa, build capacity and give the youth an opportunity to advance knowledge and care from their homeland is critical to our objectives. We are moving in the right direction.
Recognizing the importance of serving with your heart, Danny Moe, our motivational speaker par excellence, introduced our African associates to Heart Power. Watering your camels and Solomon’s clothes left such an impression that these cliques became household terms and he was voted the finest feature of the conference. Additional classes were held at the hospital and in various locations in Accra and Kumasi. One class of 35 hospital staff returned on a Saturday morning to take his Dare to Dream: Dare to Do workshop. What we recognize is that without cultural transformation in the industry, the aspirations of a contemporary medical care delivery system cannot truly become a reality. It’s wonderful having specialty skills, but care and respect must be delivered hand in hand. And what is required for the health industry is also critical for the country and our world. Consequently, Danny teaches his academy workshops weekly via Skype to Ghanaians and monthly in Vancouver. Many lives are being irrevocably changed.
Thank you Danny, for your commitment to excellence in all you teach, in your wisdom, your inspiration and in all your actions.
So to learn that transformation of Ghanaian and Nigerian lives is the outcome of our teaching brings a most gratifying reward. Just one example, Dr. Teddy Totimeh, a University of Ghana neurosurgery resident training in Tel Aviv, Israel, sent a message this week: “I still remember talking to Danny about dreams, at a time when it seemed like one of my key dreams, just did not look like [it was] happening. It was an inspiring time… I was reminded that the most important feature of a really life changing dream, is how improbable it seems. Now as I live this dream and face the challenges that come with it becoming true, I am encouraged, that God’s hands in our lives makes dreams come true. Nothing important happens without dreams.”
I bring warm greetings from our KBNF Board and Executive. It is a joy to be here today and to update you all on what is happening in our foundation and in Ghana. I serve as the Founding President and Project Chair for an international neuroscience and health care Canadian charity serving Ghana and West Africa. So why am I hear today? Because I am leading a passionate team of experts, in many fields of health, on a common goal – Vision and Mission.
Born in 1957, I believe it was providential to be birthed the same year Ghana became independent. At five years old I struggled with, did I want to be a missionary or a nurse? I finally chose nursing and the service unfolded at the turn of the century. In 1999 – 2000, a KBTH neurosurgeon serving in a fellowship, asked me one day if I would consider coming to Ghana to train his nurses. I felt in that moment it was meant to be. Within two year, while carrying an agreement of cooperation between VGH and KBTH, signed in Vancouver by our authorities and the Ghana High Commissioner, I travelled to Ghana to launch Korle-Bu Neuroscience Project. Offered land by the Founding Provost of the CHS, to build a neuroscience centre of excellence, I again felt this was divinely meant to be. We have never looked back.
Over the course of 2003 – 2010, our project management team, lead by Don Jenion, determined that hospitals aren’t built on campuses like crazy quilts. There is a master plan. So our team, with the blessing of the Ghana Government conducted a master site review. Next, with the financial partnership of the Ghana Government, we completed a master plan and program for both the KBTH 12-acre site Emergency and Clinical Specialties Centre and the UoG CHS site. Parliament passed funding for the university hospital. An Israeli construction firm was tentatively awarded the contract. Ghana crown agents are conducting a value for money assessment, prior to finalizing the funding. This public hospital will focus on the training of medical students, specialists and staff development, and work alongside KBTH. The KBTH Centre proposal is before Cabinet and anticipated to be before Parliament soon for passage. First phase of funding is committed through the Oil Producing Exporting Countries – including the Arabs Kuwaiti fund, Saudi funds, Badia fund. Our team, including leading hospital architects, planners and managers, are available to support Ghana, as they have requested, as consultants to ensure that the developments are of excellent quality.
Our foundation has shipped 15 containers over to Ghana and one to Nigeria, all successfully received. 1,500 beds, operating room tables, ventilators, anesthesia monitors, bed linens, lab equipment, supplies, have found their way onto their wards and units. A recent container was formally received last week, primarily for the school of Pharmacy at the University of Ghana. Many cartons of textbooks and lab equipment for the students were included. However, in spite of all this, if the equipment is not sustained and well maintained, all these efforts will vastly be in vain. So we are sending over an expert biomedical engineer to commence a long-term collaborative program with KBTH, and begin to make inroads into transforming mindsets on equipment care and training.
One must build a North American standard health care centre alongside health care delivery expertise. Consequently, education, training, and research is critical to any sustainability. However, grappling with how to train national youth so they will remain in their homeland necessitates our educating and training, for the most part, in their homeland. So we are tackling this from several angles. To advance capacity building, we have conducted medical/surgical missions and critical care training missions, both for the nurses, medical specialists, and biomedical technicians, in Ghana and Nigeria. However, my vision to grow an international West African family is a reality, as our Nigerian neurosurgery team in Benin City joins us and the KBTH staff annually in Ghana for conference and medical missions. We are partnering with DrUMM, from Johns Hopkins, in many of these endeavors. I envision KBTH and the UoG as the major satellite centre for training and international conferences in the years to come. We also determine that fellowships and year-long training abroad will help to raise the expertise of our specialists.
In partnership with KBTH, we have begun annual neuroscience conferences; our next to be conducted in June, both at KBTH and JFK Hospital, in Monrovia, Liberia. Our neuroradiologist, Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, whom spoke here last year, is now serving at KBTH, supporting the developments in preparation for the new centre.
We are preparing to launch a world-class, research-based, chart documentation system for Ghana and West Africa. This is a collaborative project with KBTH, the Critical Care Nurses Association, and with UBTH. Our first trial will begin this spring at Military 37, KBTH and UBTH in Nigeria. I believe that it can be the most excellent documentation system in the world, and will have arisen out of West Africa.
Another area we are tackling is with professional and personal development academy workshops called Heart Power and Dare to Dream: Dare to Do. These have been very well received and are teaching the value of serving, with your heart. If embraced, it is transformative and will take caregiving to a new level. We believe this is a critical part of elevating and sustaining care to North American standards. These are available via Skype weekly for all that would like to join and are free. We are offering these across the continent as well, as we raise awareness of our project developments.
We believe that Ghana can deliver world-class training in all specialties, and be the catalyst and epicenter for West Africa and Africa as a continent. President Mills said on inauguration day: As goes Ghana goes Africa. Ghana recognizes the import of democratic and credible infrastructure development and are reaching for equal recognition and confidence in the world market.
What role can you play? Each of you is a leader and is needed. Committed to their country. One way or another they have links with family, schools, friends. This is the time, like Ezra, for the return of the exiles to repair the broken walls. This is now our moment of opportunity, to take action and prove to the continent and the world that democracy and honesty and integrity works. It is providential that you are where you are now.
Areas where you can serve. We welcome your ideas, especially as we raise funds, check out our table and respond to our questionnaires. Become a KBNF member. Join our volunteer committee. We have several initiatives on the go. Take on supporting one of our projects. What we accomplish does have a cost. Help us raise funding. Even a $1/month x the Ghanaian communities and churches across America can = amazing support. Plan to spend time in Ghana and West Africa in mission work, giving lectures and mentoring the nationals. Share our story. Provide equipment. Represent us in your North American communities. Support our research initiatives/ take on research students.