To alleviate the suffering of West Africans with a special focus on those affected by diseases of the brain and spine and to address related health care issues.
To enhance the delivery of quality brain and spinal medical care in Ghana and West Africa.
Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) is a registered charity with a global reach. KBNF is committed to providing medical support for brain and spinal injuries and disease to the people of Ghana and West Africa.
Marj Ratel and colleagues in Ghana
Started in 2000 by neuroscience nurse Marj Ratel, KBNF is a volunteer-based organization that has earned the support and respect of professionals, government officials and caring people from all over the world. All KBNF work done is thanks to people like you — caring global citizens that donate, volunteer, participate in local events, and help us spread the word.
KBNF exists to enhance the delivery of quality brain and spinal medical care in Ghana and West Africa, by partnering with regional, national and international partners in the establishment maintenance and advancement of self-sustaining high quality clinical Neuroscience and Neurosurgical facilities using the resources of the West African medical communities, in collaboration with their Ministries of Health and the Education and other agencies. We promote the education of healthcare in West Africa, particularly in neuroscience and collaboration between institutions both local and international.
KBNF is one of the few charitable organizations in the world that is focused on both immediate and lifesaving medical support, with a long-term infrastructure vision.
We are supported by donations and monetary contributions. Each contribution is crucial in helping us to save the lives of the people in Ghana and West Africa.
Join us in helping the people of Ghana and West Africa who are dying needlessly from brain and spinal injuries and diseases that are treatable and preventable. Become a member and help us change the world.
Since our inception, KBNF has been acting as a facilitator between individuals, institutions and governments, always with the goal of improving neuroscience health care in West Africa. It has strategic alliances with two other charities, Doctors for United Medical Missions (DrUMM, Baltimore, Maryland) and Compassionate Resource Warehouse (CRW, Victoria, B.C) and has become a member of the G4 Alliance to further our objectives.
Education and Training
2002: KBNF’s first neurosurgical teaching mission was held in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana.
2002 – 2016: KBNF members have participated in numerous neurosurgical medical and/or teaching missions in West Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Missions sharing surgical expertise with local surgeons and providing patients with life changing surgery have been accompanied by lectures for local physicians, nurses, nursing and medical students. Non-surgical Missions have seen KBNF members teach in a variety of formats and localities (lectures, seminars, workshops).
2002 – 2015: Dr Felix Durity (University of British Columbia (UBC) Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery) began assisting KBTH neurosurgeons in acquiring additional expertise in transphenoidal pituitary gland surgery (i.e. removal of benign brain tumours causing blindness, infertility and hormonal disorders). The current UBC Head of Surgery, neurosurgeon Dr Gary Redekop has continued the relationship by visiting KBTH with Dr Durity in 2010 and providing its neurosurgeons with neurosurgical tools (pituitary surgery instruments in 2012, drill for craniotomies in 2015).
2003: A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra, Ghana and the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), Vancouver, Canada was signed. It has facilitated additional training in British Columbia (BC) of four Ghanaian nurses, a CT scan technologist and five physicians and enhanced their expertise in neuroscience and related disciplines. Exposure to Canadian health care methods has been one of the benefits of their visit.
2010 – 2016: Heart Power (Caring with your heart, caring with compassion) is the brain child of Danny Moe, a founding KBNF Board of Directors. He has been teaching this transformative course weekly in person and over the internet to audiences in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and British Columbia. This course is now a prerequisite for volunteering for KBNF medical missions.
2011: An External Review of the KBTH Radiology Department & Radiology Residency Training Program was conducted by KBNF’s Chair of Education, Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe.
2011 & 2012: KBNF organized two Neuroscience conferences at KBTH.
2011 & 2012: KBNF provided numerous neuroscience speakers at major week-long Ghanaian medical conferences.
2012 – 2013: Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe spends 18 months working in the KBTH Radiology Department and teaching its’ Radiology residents and CT & MRI radiographers.
2013: KBNF made multiple presentations at the first three day Neuroradiology conference held in Accra.
2014: A Palliative Care (PC) committee called Share the Care (formerly with Crossroads Hospice Society, Coquitlam, BC) joined KBNF. Its first teaching missions took place in Ghana in 2011 and 2013. Its new initiative is to assist the establishment of a dedicated Palliative Care Unit at the 132 bed Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital (TQMH), Manpong Akuapim in the Eastern Region of Ghana (north east of Accra).
2015: Members of the Share the Care committee spent two weeks in Ghana in October, teaching Palliative Care courses to groups of physicians and nurses in three cities.
Improving Health Care Infrastructure
2005: Early discussions with KBTH administrators and neurosurgeons lead to the production of a professional Project Brief, to establish a West African regional Neuroscience Centre of Excellence at KBTH; KBTH allocated 3.5 acres of land for this project.
2006: This hefty document was followed by a Sustainability Report, showing the viability of a Neuroscience Centre in Ghana.
2007: A Functional Program was created, to ensure that functional requirements for delivery of neuroscience care were met. As this project evolved, it lead to the preparation of a Master Plan for a proposed re-development of KBTH and a Master Plan for the various faculties of the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana (UG).
2007 – 2016: Using these documents prepared in collaboration with KBTH and UG, the government of Ghana negotiated low cost international loans that have resulted in construction of the UG Teaching Hospital and the amalgamation of the KBTH Accident Centre and Medical/Surgical Centre in renovated space; both facilities are slated to open in 2016.
2013: Medical equipment and supplies sent to the Mount Olives Hospital (MOH) in Techiman, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana.
2014: Stroke prevention seminars were led in the Brong Ahafo region. To help patients recover from the effects of stroke (a very common problem linked to the high incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes) KBNF began work in assisting MOH in the establishment of a Neuro-rehabilitation Centre.
Medical Equipment & Supplies
2001: The donation of 250 hospital beds and mattresses by VGH to KBTH has led to the shipment of more than twenty five 40 foot shipping containers of donated equipment and supplies to health care facilities in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia. Each shipment costs about $8,000 CAD while the estimated replacement value of the contents of each container is a minimum of $200,000.
2015: Shipments to Liberia, to assist in its recovery from the Ebola crisis. We continue in our quest to provide Liberia with 1,000 hospital beds with side rails (approximately 500 beds having been received to the end of 2015).
Upcoming 2016 shipments will assist the Tetteh Quarshie Hospital furnish its new Palliative Care and Chronic Pain Units and provide rehabilitation equipment and medical supplies to the Mount Olives Hospital.
Research & Student Involvement
2008: The first Korle Bu Neuroscience Club (KBNC) was established by students at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). A second club was soon established at UBC by students interested in neuroscience. Currently, five clubs are active in Canada and the USA.
2009: The presidents of the McGill and UBC clubs participated in neurosurgical medical missions to Nigeria and Ghana.
2010: The National Resources Council of Canada (NRC) invited KBNF to participate in their Neurosimulator project called Neurotouch (www.neurotouch.ca). Similar to other medical simulators, the purpose is to train surgeons in practicing a procedure using many scenarios, to learn how to avoid complications before operating on an actual patient.
2011: KBNF’s Research Chair, Dr Lisa Cain developed an agreement with University of Ghana to establish a collaborative Neuroscience Graduate Research Program with multiple institutions to be based in the Anatomy Department of the UG Faculty of Medicine, under the direction of its head.
2014: A simulator for a procedure called endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) was successfully trialed at KBTH, using real time long distance monitoring from the University of Toronto. Hydrocephalus is common in West Africa, and the cost of the previously used shunt out of reach for most families.
2015: The UBC and U. of Arizona clubs have been conducting document research on the incidence of stroke in Africa and on the resources available within Africa concerning rehabilitation training and services, in order to allow KBNF to better plan the orderly establishment of a Neuro-rehabilitation Centre at the Mount Olives Hospital.
2006: The Ghanaian-Canadian Association awarded Marjorie Ratel, president of KBNF, its Achievement Award for her efforts in improving health care delivery to Ghanaians.
2007: Marjorie Ratel received the UBC Alumni Global Citizenship Award.
2013: Marjorie Ratel was honoured to receive the Canadian Governor General’s Visit Medallion in Accra, as recognition for her work and dedication in improving medical treatment and promoting research in neuroscience in Ghana, bringing the two countries closer together.