Not Without a Cost

As I ponder our 12-year history, I am fully appreciative of the faithful giving and diligence of our dedicated members and supporters, year after year after year. Many have personally sacrificed to ensure that our objectives are met in a timely manner. We are so blessed by your investments of time, energy, resources, skills and expertise. It has required belief in our cause, passion for our cause, commitment to the cause and action. Everyone has good intentions, but it requires action to ensure our foundation functions and is capable of achieving our objectives. I recall sitting at my kitchen table pondering how on earth we were going to meet our expenses one month, and the phone rang . . . a $5,000 gift was promptly donated by a businessman through our website, beautifully taking care of us for the moment. I sat in awe, thanking the Lord for again providing.

I received an email just the other day from Dr. Gladstone Kessie. KBNF sent a 40 ft. container to his community hospital in the interior of Ghana a few years ago, arriving during a destructive flood. The staff had lost all of their belongings as their bungalows were washed away. Dr. Kessie was performing surgery on the floor. They received an operating room table along with beds and a packed container of equipment and supplies, which were immediately put to use. He said: “We are very grateful for your great help to the people of Nsawkaw. We shall for ever be grateful. . . I will give you details of how helpful these items were and lives that you have saved through this programme. God richly bless you.”

It is emails like this that make the immense costs (collecting items, packing, counting, carrying, storing, shipping, on and on) worthwhile. Watch our website for Dr. Kessie’s blogs, coming soon. This is just one sample of many such stories. KBNF has now sent over 15 containers to West Africa, all received intact to the destinations intended. We are so very thankful — for YOU, and for your support.

 

 


A letter from Seth Ayettey

Dear friends,

We begin this New Year with thanksgiving to God and with appreciation to all of you for encouragement through 2011.

The first good news is that I have made tremendous progress health-wise. I am now able to walk with little support. At home, I walk about without the cane. I trust it will not be long before I am able to walk too in public without the cane.

The second good news is about Jocelyne’s decision to join us for two years. This means so much to me and to the rest of the team as her presence here will help establish quality standards in radiology and lay foundations to improve work ethics. Jocelyne will also support leadership development at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital working together with Nii and Afua and myself. We thank God for Jocelyne and look forward to her arrival later this month.

The third news is that we are closer to funding of the Phase 1 of the Emergency, Neuroscience and Medical Sub-specialties project. This afternoon, we had a major meeting with officials of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health to finalize the Cabinet Memo on loans and grants from the Arabic Consortium. The document should be ready for the next Cabinet meeting scheduled for January 14th. It will then go to Parliament where we shall be invited to defend it.

The Eye Center project has taken off. Construction will be completed by the end of this year. Three other projects shall commence this year – namely the Child Health Emergency project (government funding), a Renal and GU Center (private financing) and the Gynae Hospital (funding from the government of India). Then there is the Radiotherapy Extension project to provide for a Linear Accelerator. This project has funding ($6 million U.S.) from BADEA. There is also equipment rehabilitation for all the different specialties. A new National Blood Bank Center project took off in December. Efforts are in motion for the establishment of private facilities on a P3 basis, including a hospital and diagnostic centers. There is also a huge housing project to be undertaken by a Canadian group. Private interest has been expressed in this as well. It seems therefore that this is the year of God’s special favor upon us. Pray with us that there will be no hindrances.

Many of you are well aware of the shipping of medical equipment to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital from Canada and the U.S. You have been solidly behind these shipments and we are grateful to you and to the volunteers in the U.S.

I thank you all again for being major instruments of God in laying solid foundations for the Emergency project in particular and for all the documents that are being used by government to support requests for grants and loans for the hospital.

We look forward to realizing all of our dreams to see Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital built into a super tertiary center that will provide the best health care for people in West Africa and be a leading center of excellence for development of quality health human resource.

Thank you all again and again. God bless you all.

Happy New Year.

Seth Ayettey

KBTH

Chairman of the Board


2011 Promotions Update

Our major corporate sponsor, Rick Diamond, owner of Diamond Delivery (DD), has been a steady supporter over the years. It doesn’t matter what is thrown at Rick, he just throws it back full throttle, wholly committed to success regardless of the commitment required. And he passionately gets the bigger picture. If his dear wife Sue had been ill IN Africa, she would have died. If Rick can help bring health care to Africans suffering with a neurological disorder, then most any effort is worthwhile. Meeting Rick Diamond for lunch (he paid) in mid August, we discussed our project priorities, including our critical need to advance to a new level in our communication and promotions proficiency so we could effectively fulfill the various urgently awaiting projects.

October Fundraising Events

Pursuing cutting edge new economy fundraising, Rick and I mused over various ways and means of raising funds. What would be cutting edge today? After chatting about how popular garage sales have become in the Fraser Valley, Rick determined that a giant garage sale would engage the Surrey community and raise much needed awareness. Amazing effort ensued by many members of Rick’s staff, some hired specifically for the events, to ensure that success was realised and the broader corporate community embraced our cause. Providing DD trucks for donation pick up, and housing the container at the Westwood lumbar Surrey site, along with holding the garage sale at DD Surrey warehouse, it made for an incredibly busy October.

The commencement to the weekend began with Rick Diamond and Brian Johal, owner of Westwood Lumbar Company sponsoring and hosting our first corporate luncheon. Included in the fundraiser was a luncheon attended by approximately 100 representatives from the Fraser Valley corporate community, Surrey municipality members, provincial legislators, a BC Lions football player, Miss BC Tara Teng (currently Miss Canada) and our very special guest, Dr. Sue Diamond, keynote speaker. Dr. Diamond pulled at the heartstrings of the audience as she shared her own story of neurological struggles and how our cause became a Diamond family cause several years ago. 100 balloons with gifts for sale, winter flower baskets, and a silent auction were followed by a massive garage sale the following day.

To pull off this mammoth effort required all hands on deck for weeks! Dozens of KBNF, Diamond Delivery, and Westwood Lumbar volunteers including the owners’ families and friends all pulled together to make the weekend a wonderful fundraiser. Many new valuable contacts were made and much networking has developed as a result. A TV interview with Fanny Kiefer, Shaw TV, was an offspring of the campaign raising the stature of our foundation further.

Our beautiful winter flower baskets were subsidized by a Fraser Valley garden centre. Containing perennials and annuals, the remainder have been converted into lovely spring flower baskets and are on sale now for Mother’s and Father’s Day. Much appreciation is extended to IGA Marketplace in Walnut Grove, a continual supporter of our cause. We held a weekend long basket sale at their site, as they set aside their own flowers in deference to ours. Unfortunately, part of the weekend was hit with monsoons and our volunteers braved the arctic winds and rain, being troopers for the cause. Our coin boxes continue to grace IGA counters and tangible support is faithfully given, for which we are so thankful.

KBNF Summer Missions

We anticipate a multi-focussed mission trip to Ghana in early August 2011. Medical missions to Ghana and for the first time to Liberia are in the works. For Ghana, KBNF is participating with the Ghanaian Physicians and Surgeons Association of America’s first CME Conference for West African physicians. We are providing neurosurgery, neurology and neuro-radiology education and training workshops. Concurrently, we are looking forward to facilitating neurology stroke and epilepsy teaching being taught by our KBNF neurologist for the medical students at the University of Ghana School of Medicine and with local physicians.

A research mission led by KBNF Research Chair, Lisa Cain and including representatives from partnering universities and institutes, in partnership with the College of Health Sciences Department of Anatomy, are anticipating the launch of the first Neuro Research Department for West Africa in that first week. KBNF Project Management Chair, Don Jenion, his team and Builders without Borders will work with KBTH in planning the anticipated renovation work fully funded by KBNF. Danny Moe, KBNF Motivational Speaker, will be speaking in many forums and churches, giving the gift of inspiration to Ghanaians while sharing of the mission of KBNF.

KBNF is in discussions with Dr. James Sirleaf, HEARTT, and KBNF neurosurgeon Dr. Estrada Bernard [Alaska] regarding holding a neurosurgery mission in Monrovia, Liberia the second week of August. We are pleased that Dr. Paul King, KBNF neurosurgeon (Atlanta) has been confirmed to the team and that DrUMM is also committed to this mission. We are considering expanding our mission to include volunteer dentists and perhaps a general surgeon to round out the mission mandate. Funding is a priority for mission expenses and to subsidize mission member’s trip expenses.

KBNF Academy

Danny Moe, VP, KBF, and an international motivational speaker par excellence, and I discussed how several of our KBNF members were looking for work and was there something we could do to help them? KBNF is founded on and values our volunteer family. When a member is hurting, then we all hurt. Danny subsequently prepared an inspirational Dare to Dream seminar and the eight attendees from that morning session received tremendous encouragement. Subsequently, we determined the importance of giving a gift to our KBNF family, friends, and potential supporters and Dare to Dream and Heart Power seminars were fully established.

Danny has now hosted events at Kwantlen University and the UBC / VGH Eye Care Centre auditorium and library. We have served waffles hot off the grill for lunch and we are encouraged by the response and new KBNF members joining as a result. Ultimately, however, the most precious moments are when our Academy members embrace life-changing principles. Danny now has a group of Academy members joining him on Skype from Accra, Ghana on a weekly basis. We anticipate on expansion, as we continue to group our alumni.

Conclusion

We are truly energized by the impact that we have had on health care and neurosurgical developments in Ghana and by the opportunities we have now to make a continued strategic and heartfelt impact. One area that we are advancing in is keeping our members and sponsors abreast of developments and news on a monthly basis. This is a work in progress, as we move toward regular mail outs. We are encouraged by the response we have had so far from our February/March fundraising letter and anticipate greater response as we devote more time to networking by personal phone calls, emails, and traditional mail.

We are pursuing funding for several sustainable and credible projects at hand. Our KBNF Family will indeed be critical to the realization of these objectives, as we continue this incredible journey . . . together.


2011 Equipment & Shipping Update

Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) members had the opportunity to partner with Pro Health International (Nigeria) and DrUMM (Johns Hopkins Hospital) November 2009 on a Medical Mission to the Neurosurgery Unit at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) in Benin, Nigeria and the Neurosurgery and Intensive Care Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra, Ghana.

While KBNF members had visited KBTH in the past, it was their first time at the UBTH. It became apparent early on in the visit to the UBTH Neurosurgery department that while they had wonderful, passionate, caring, eager to learn and skilled doctors and nurses, there was a huge lack of some very basic medical/hospital items including secure hospital beds. The team was particularly distressed to discover that the majority of beds did not have side rails and seizure patients in particular were at serious risk of injury. The neurosurgery staff had done the best they could do with their personal resources, procuring their own equipment, bedding, and supplies to establish the neurosurgery unit a few years ago. It was an easy decision by the equipment committee that UBTH would benefit greatly from a donation of medical supplies and equipment.

In the following months medical supplies and equipment were collected from Vancouver General Hospital and Broadway Lodge. Other items, including mattresses, were also received from the Compassionate Resource Warehouse in Victoria.  A couple of anaesthesia machines, replicates of machines they already use at UBTH, were refurbished by biomedical technicians at Lions Gate Hospital. In 2010, with the assistance of the Universal Aide Society of BC, we were able to facilitate the shipment of a 40-foot container of medical supplies and equipment to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Southern Nigeria.

The items were received and greatly appreciated by the entire Neurosurgery Unit at the UBTH. Dr. David Udoh, the sole Neurosurgeon for 12 million people, shared: “The nurses were ecstatic. I could scarcely bear it!  I went into the container myself and the nurses joined. We did all the offloading ourselves!  Until dusk. The nurses shocked everyone. As I walked through the container, I could feel the warm embrace of the love which donated so sacrificially, which lifted and loaded every heavy equipment without a wince or groan, which so delicately packaged every box and watched their labour of love shipped to an uncertain destination (as ours can be).”

While the Equipment Acquisition and Shipping Committee, along with many KBNF volunteers, have been responsible for the shipment of over 13 containers, KBNF is looking at relocating its resources from the actual procurement, storing, and shipping of medical equipment and supplies, and partner with other agencies in facilitating the shipment of medical equipment and supplies in the coming years.  We will also pursue the possibility of sponsoring the purchase of specific equipment for Neuroscience Units in West Africa.

We wish to thank Diamond Delivery once again for their generous donation of warehouse space and access to their delivery trucks. Without their investment freely given, we could not have sustained this level of giving in recent years. We wish to also thank all of our caring volunteers that have helped with the sorting, packing and shipping of recycled and refurbished quality equipment and supplies. They have arrived in the arms of appreciative West African health care workers, patients and families. This living investment will truly make a difference for years to come.

2011 – 2012 Goals/Objectives

  1. Direct shipment from Vancouver of a 20-foot container with lab supplies from UBC for pathology students at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
  2. Awaiting confirmation of opportunity to partner in the procurement and shipment of hospital equipment from an imminently closing U.S. military hospital with the mutual goal of fully furnishing two North American-standard neurosurgery operating rooms for the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Additional equipment is being earmarked for other West African tertiary centers including Liberia.

 


New Neurosurgery OR Table Donated to KBTH

Mr. Fredi Asieudu (far right), on behalf of Rotary Clubs Ghana, is presenting the OR table to the KBTH. Prof Nii Otu Nartey, CEO of KBTH is in the blue shirt in the middle of the image. He has his right arm around Dr. Thomas Dakurah, Head of Neurosurgery.

KBNF member Dr. Felix Durity (UBC Emeritus Professor of Neurosurgery) was distressed by what he found on his visit to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital with Dr. Gary Redekop (current Head of Neurosurgery, UBC and a KBNF member) in October 2009. With the help of Wilbur Walrond of the Richmond Rotary Club who contacted various BC Rotary Clubs and the Coeur d’Alene Club in Idaho, $30,000 USD was raised to purchase a state-of-the-art Steris OR table, specifically designed for neurosurgical procedures. Accra West Rotary and KBNF-Ghana also provided funding for the purchase.

Dr. Durity’s persistence and determination for more than two years to obtain a suitable quality product were realized with the delivery of the OR table on April 14, 2011 to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

 


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,

David


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

President

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

Chair

Korle-Bu Neuroscience Project


Charity Fair & Garage Sale Video Clip


Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation held a Charity Fair & Garage Sale on October 16, 2010 in Surrey. This exciting and interactive fundraising event supported KBNF as they work to alleviate the suffering of those in Ghana and West Africa affected by diseases of the brain and spine.