Someone Making Things Happen

Mark Warawa, MP, Langley, and Chair of the Parliamentary Environment Committee in Ottawa is a longtime loyal KBNF supporter and donor. Christina and I had the privilege of having lunch with Mark during an Ottawa visit in October. An update on KBNF was a large part of the agenda.

KBNF is pleased to report that Mark will be joining a KBNF Executive meeting this winter. A video sharing our role in West Africa, hosted by Mark, is also anticipated. Information on the logistics of preparing for an anticipated official Canadian visit of the President of Liberia is being facilitated through Mark’s office.

Laundry Folding Party Update

Brenda and her volunteers had an energized day sorting and packing medical supplies for the upcoming shipments to Mt. Olives Hospital, Techiman, Brong-Ahafo Region, in the interior of northern Ghana and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

For eight hours, you could hear much laughter, cheerful banter and questions hurled as the team determined what donated items in fact were, which were suitable for sending, and where on earth is that box that is being packed with lab supplies, respiratory supplies and/or any other supplies. Oh, is the box already sealed containing x, y, z? Lots of fun and patience as our volunteers took up the cause in earnest, determined to meet Brenda’s goal of having all the supplies packed by day’s end.

Lunch was also scrumptious, even though there were no chairs to sit on. Come to think of it, we never sat the entire day! But everyone devoured meat wraps, turkey croissant sandwiches, veggies, apples, and organic coffee with pleasure. The coffee pot malfunctioned, so I made coffee at the nursing unit and could be seen walking through the hospital carrying a pot of coffee on more than one occasion!!

TOYS . . . I observed a little boy playing with Coke bottle caps at a hospital one day, his only toy. Talking with another Ghanaian young man, he recalled how his only toy growing up was a ball handmade with pieces of tape carefully peeled off of boxes mailed to his village. Eventually it was the size of a baseball. So considering how hospitalized children just don’t have anything to play with, I put out a call for toys and books.  So a BIG thank you to VGH Neurologist Dr. Tony Traboulsee and his family, as they arrived with a carload of toys and books for the Mt. Olives Hospital in the afternoon. A battery powered train set and a large mauve plastic princess house will grace the playroom of Mt. Olives pediatric unit very soon. Dr. Gladstone Kessie is already very excited by this development.

Aaron Asante, one of our founding KBNF members, also completed loading up hospital linens and a wheelchair destined for his hometown Ghanaian village clinic next week.

We could not achieve any of our objectives without the incredible support of our faithful volunteers and donors. Thank you everyone, for your wonderful labour of love.

Our next packing day is Feb 9th at the VGH old laundry unit. Please “ink” it into your calendar. Brenda and I need everyone on board, once again. Brenda is planning our next shipment for mid-month and we need to prepare the final packing of linens prior to shipping by barge to Victoria for its final loading before heading to Ghana.

Please click here to see additional photos from the folding party.

Inspirational Moment & Prayer

Participants from one of the many KBNF workshops presented and facilitated by Danny Moe. (Danny is in the back row, third from the left.)

Here is a quick update on the work that Danny Moe, Reverend, Motivational Speaker, Vice President of Korle-Bu Foundation, has been up to for KBNF.

Danny has been ministering to Ghanaians and Sierra Leoneans daily. One woman had a dream of writing books, and had been told she had “books inside of her” – but never realized her dream until she began to work through Dare to Dream: Dare to Do with Danny! It has literally transformed her life. Her first book has been published and another is in development for publication this year. Danny has been showing her that there are innovative ways to sell her books. By holding seminars and having the books for sale, she should have tremendous success.

For more information on KBNF’s Workshops with Danny Moe, please visit here.

Sad News to Pass Along

Patrick Ali, a 34-year-old Sierra Leonean engineer, came to our attention this past fall. Patrick had suffered a serious cervical spine injury when a tree collapsed on the car he was driving in Freetown, crushing his vertebrae. Simply no neurosurgery care is available in Sierra Leone or any neighbouring countries, and after discussion with KBNF, Patrick was transferred to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital within a couple of weeks. Neurosurgery to stabilize his neck was successful; however, with the significant time lapse, Patrick was challenged with quadriplegia. Through the remarkable efforts of Megan Boyles, Patrick’s loving Canadian fiancé, he attended physiotherapy daily. Strength was returning to his arms and sensation was also improving throughout his body. Unfortunately, pressure sores acquired during his convalescence seriously compromised his rehabilitation and Patrick returned to KBTH Surgical Block for reconstructive surgical intervention in mid-November. After a valiant struggle and much prayer, Patrick Ali quietly slipped away to be with his Lord on January 11th at 6:40 a.m.

Many thanks must go to Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe for her remarkable care for Patrick throughout much of his stay. Providing neuro-radiological expertise freely was wonderful. Also, when Patrick’s sister had to return to Sierra Leone, and Megan had to return to Canada, Jocelyne ensured that Patrick was not alone. Reports of her heading out to market to purchase games they could play together or picking up a foam mattress for him were only the tip of the iceberg. Jocelyne provided Megan precious support and ensured that all of Patrick’s hospital care, funeral and travel arrangements back to Sierra Leone were promptly taken care of.

Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey, our KBNF senior counsellor, along with his daughter, Dr. Hannah Ayettey-Anie beautifully provided pastoral support for Patrick and Megan as well as the arrangements for all of Patrick’s care needs after passing away. Thank you. And for the administrators that provided hospital transportation and visited Patrick, as well as the nurses on Surgical 6 and for the Plastics and Reconstructive physicians, your concern and kindness was so very appreciated.

Appreciation also goes to KBNF Directors Samuel Ampen-Asare for his visits and to Dr. Alfred Lutterodt for his professional attention to Megan’s health needs. And finally, much appreciation is directed towards our KBNF family and friends here in North America, for your tender, loving care, as you gave financially to help with Patrick’s medical expenses and care. That support encouraged Patrick and Megan immeasurably. They were not alone.

In closing, Jocelyne shares: Keep Patrick’s family and Megan in your prayers. Thank you to you all who have participated in Patrick’s physical and spiritual well being. I firmly believe that this sad experience will move KBNF in a direction that had not been anticipated at this stage, for the benefit of other West African patients like Patrick.”

I too pray that Patrick’s life will serve to inspire a lasting legacy for many years to come.



Pillows for Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

KBNF spearheaded a pillow and pillow cover search for patients at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. We have observed that seldom do patients have pillows and repositioning is very challenging without them. As well, I noticed that patient’s comfort was often at risk. One intensive care patient I observed at Military 37 in June, was intubated and ventilated and yet he did not have a pillow to rest his head on. When a pillow was provided, I could literally see his shoulders relax and his breathing improve.

So why few to no pillows for patients? Apparently, KBTH had pillows long ago, however, with the advent of HIV Aids and when pillows became seriously soiled, they had to be discarded. As a result, families have been required to provide pillows. If there are no families or financial resources, the patient is left with no pillows.

Repositioning and preventing pressure sores is critical to a patient’s wellbeing, so I went on a crusade looking for a solution. Impermeable pillow covers for quality antiallergenic pillows would be the answer.

So while I was in Ghana this past November, Francis, my KBTH driver, along with Samuel Ampen-Asare and I, went on a pillow and pillow cover search. PolyTex Limited graciously donated 300 quality plastic pillow covers for the hospital. Ash-Foam Company then provided KBNF 100 pillows at a significant discount and donated another 50 for the patients at KBTH. KBTH stamped the pillows with their seal and the seamstresses sealed the pillow covers, so that the pillows will be permanently protected and the covers will only need to be wiped down.

The pillows were handed over to KBTH by Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe on December 21st — 60 pillows went to the Medical Block, 40 to the Surgical Block, 30 to the Accident Centre and 20 to the Surgical Medical Emergency. KBNF hopes to multiply the pillow supply many times over in the months and year ahead.

Well done everyone, and thank you for your financial support. The patients will be able to rest much easier now.

A Big Welcome to Samuel Ampen-Asare

Samuel on Parliament Hill in Otttawa.

I would like to warmly extend congratulations to Samuel Ampen-Asare on his recent appointment to the KBNF Board of Directors.

For those who are not familiar with Samuel, we met him in 2002 when on our inaugural visit to Ghana. He was serving the Canadian High Commission as their Trade Officer. Samuel is multilingual, speaking fluently in several languages, including French and Spanish. He currently serves at the Head of the Human Resources Department for the Electric Company, where they are going through transformational developments (including accountability and performance measurement).

On behalf of the Board, congratulations, Samuel.


KBNF Facebook Page

We are excited to announce that Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation now has an active Facebook page.

We are posting information about our organization, the charity work we do, and neuroscience. We will offer inspirational stories and share news about how we can all help to alleviate the suffering of Ghanaians and West Africans affected by diseases of the brain and spine. We hope you will “like” us and share our content.

Click here to view the page (you may need to be signed into Facebook to view the page).

KBNF’s Vision for West Africa

(Contemporary physical infrastructure + education + training + research + loving, care = accelerated excellence of care)

Our first introduction to Liberia arrived via Dr. Estrada Bernard, American neurosurgeon, three years ago. He was thrilled to learn of our existence and our vision and mission to establish neuroscience and health care for the people of Ghana and West Africa. In order to achieve these objectives in a timely manner, we have determined that partnering with Ghana as the lead neuroscience centre of excellence with satellite centre expansion throughout various West African countries would replicate how neurosurgery effectively advanced across North America in the past century and ultimately achieved world class status.

We believe that sustainable infrastructure development requires concomitant facility development, education, training, mentoring and research, in order to encourage and ensure dedicated health care providers. Consequently, we have partnered with Ghana in establishing a master plan and program for the establishment of an Emergency and Clinical Specialties Centre of Excellence at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana and the master plan and program for the establishment of a training hospital and allied health schools at the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, East Legon site. These conceptual plans are in various phases of early development.