Establishment of a West African Neuroscience Research Department is a key goal, bringing together current and future research studies into a cohesive unit. Finding cures for tropical diseases that attack the brain and spinal cord is critical, as Ghana embarks on the development of a world-class neuroscience centre. Research performed on the African continent advances infrastructure, autonomy, and sparks youth to aim high to achieve scientific breakthroughs for their people. Partnering with the University of Ghana, College of Health Sciences, this department will be under the authority of the Anatomy Department. Neuro-based research will be conducted in a coordinated and strategic manner and will conduct joint partnerships with North American Universities.
A doctor is only as good as the equipment he has to work with. If equipment is not maintained, it will almost certainly fall into disrepair and abandonment. With the expertise of biomedical engineers, the medical equipment in West Africa can be fully functioning and saving lives. Building a strong, vibrant biomedical engineering department is crucial in the ongoing ability to help the people of West Africa.
Korle Bu Teaching Hospital needs mentors for their engineers and we have experts willing to go over for set periods of time to train nationals. We plan to build a consultant resource team that is available on an ongoing basis to support our West African technicians and engineers while they develop their skills and become independent.
Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Biomedical Engineering team awaits training and mentoring visit support from KBNF Biomedical Resource Team led by Engineer Anders Engstrom, Lions Gate Hospital. Anders is prepared to take a leave of absence from VCH, to give quality time to KBTH’s needs. KBTH will provide lodging and provisions during his stay. Ongoing expertise via IT communication as well as leading a volunteer team on regular visits is expected.
As you can imagine, hospital equipment requires expert maintenance and repair in order to be available for consistent use by doctors and staff. Without this resource, patients are left at risk and physicians cannot perform their often life saving duties with any measure of confidence. Equipment must have optimal performance in order to ensure sustainability for the hospital for years to come. Sadly, this is currently not the case. KBTH CEO Nii Otu Nartey has asked KBNF to fill this critical need. Fundraising for Anders and his team along with a biomedical repair kit is a top priority. A gift for this cause would enable Anders to intervene immediately.
KBNF focuses on many projects that involve the transportation of desperately needed hospital equipment and supplies to West African hospitals. We have successfully sent over 14 container shipments.
We sent over a container shipment in fall of 2010. It included specialty chairs and wheelchairs, beds with side rails, bed linens and clothes, rehab equipment, furniture, and medical and laboratory supplies. We received four ventilators that were refurbished or used for parts by our biomedical engineers and two fully functioning ventilators were sent to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. An operating room table was also urgently needed, so that was a priority on this container shipment as well.
Providing the basics can make a huge difference in the healing process of patients. It has a direct impact on their quality of care and their safety while in the hospital. A specialty neurosurgery OR table has been received in Ghana for the Korle Bu surgical team and Felix Durity is currently pursuing specialty equipment to help neurosurgeons efficiently remove benign brain tumors (meningiomas).
We are preparing to send another container to support training and hospital needs to KBTH and the CHS this spring with plans to facilitate the transfer of quality equipment from Washington, DC later in the year.
A neurosurgery team of specialists is planning our second medical mission to West Africa. Teaming up with DrUMM, our American affiliate, we anticipate providing surgical support for those that would have no hope otherwise, while mentoring, teaching and training nationals in basic to advanced care.
Throughout West Africa, in countries such as Liberia, there is a desperate need for infrastructure support as they continue to recover from the ravages of civil war. We are supporting their medical needs, networking on their behalf and preparing to support medical infrastructure development.
Chart Documentation System
A multinational team of KBNF nurses is spearheading a state of the art documentation system for West African hospitals with the national nurses and doctors. This will provide much needed nursing and medical infrastructure, encourage the organization of care and accountability, while reducing the length of patient stays in hospital. Included will be standardized orders and expectations from admission to discharge, for the whole neuroscience team.
KBTH Surgical Block Neurosurgery Unit Renovations
KBTH is the regional hospital for West Africa. They are preparing to construct a critically needed North American standard Emergency and Clinical Specialties Centre. Included in phase one will be neurosurgery, radiology and emergency care. We are supporting this development.
While awaiting construction of the new neuroscience unit on campus, the current neurosurgery unit located in the Surgical Block, is in serious need of structural renovation. A thorough review of repairs needed to ensure safety and basic health needs has been completed. KBNF is planning to send a team over to partner with the hospital in conducting these repairs. Our Project Management Team, lead by Don Jenion, would assist KBTH. Builders without Borders – Canada has agreed to partner with KBNF on this project, led by Don. Bob Culver, BWB Civil Engineer, will be conducting a detailed assessment of the neurosurgery unit shortly.
Web-based Fundraising Software Project
The web-based fundraising software is a key to providing a complete fundraising and donor management solution to help reduce our workload and build relationships with our donors. The software will specifically help to provide assistance in the following areas:
- Fundraising activities: To manage constituent contacts and donor development, send personalized communications, successfully handle special events and easily run all types of fundraising.
- Reporting & Analysis: To better manage our campaigns and analyze the results.
- Information Management: To manage all information in one complete source and integrate it with our accounting software.
- Online Fundraising: To harness the Internet and web-based technologies in order to serve our mission and improve fundraising results.
The web-based fundraising software is desperately needed by the Foundation as we move forward to raise funds for the various projects. One of the greatest benefits of this software is that our volunteers will save an enormous amount of hours on administration and focus more on the much needed direct fundraising efforts.
Your generous contributions are very much appreciated.
Education and training in all areas of neuroscience is crucial for the long-term sustainability of providing world-class medical care for injuries and diseases of the brain and spine.
Currently, there is only one part-time and two full-time neurologists serving 23 million Ghanaians. Many neighbouring countries also depend on Ghana for neuro-specialists. Sending over educators that can help build the medical education infrastructure that will provide West Africa with the specialists that they need and will need in the future is extremely important.
Right now, there are no neuro-pathologists in West Africa. If biopsy tissue needs to be analyzed to determine whether it is cancerous or benign, it must be sent to Europe or America. It can take up to eight months to receive the results. This waiting time is not only filled with anxiety for the patients and their families, but by the time some patients receive their test results, it is too late. Recently, one little boy died because it took so long to get his test results. His tumour was benign and with aggressive treatment, he could have been saved – the results came too late for any kind of treatment.
Vancouver General Hospital Neuropathology Department has agreed to support the training of West African pathologists. Training has been completed for the first pathologist from KBTH, the regional university hospital for Ghana and West Africa. Additional pathologists are being planned for further studies at VGH.
Many neurological diseases are preventable. For example, if pregnant West African women were to add folic acid to their diet, it would reduce spina bifida in newborns by at least 50%. Tragically, this largely preventable problem causes paralysis and often early death. We need to inform them. This includes sharing the message in the media, in newsprint, and on community bulletin boards. KBNF funds will pay for this public outreach to educate and inform the people of West Africa about some small changes they can make to help prevent diseases.
Prof. Fred Addai, Chair, Anatomy Department, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana is the Chair of our Neuroscience Research Graduate Program. His passion for advancing neuroscience health care in West Africa and around the world is palpable.
We are now able to provide our readers with Anatomy Department studies, courtesy of Prof. Addai. Please click on the links below to view the learning material.