Neuro-Simulator Introductory Week: Part Three

Tuesday was a very special morning when the simulator was unveiled and demonstrations were conducted. Furthermore, a full introduction of the research study was provided. Alfred tells me that the event was well attended and the Canadian High Commissioner, Christopher Thornley, was present. Patrick and Harry (KBTH neurosurgeons) had invited neurosurgeons from far and wide, and I had invited guests including the MOH, UoG past and present administrators, KBTH past and present administrators, KBNF Board and the media. Fred Addai promoted the event at their Anatomy Staff meeting and encouraged his staff and students to attend. Many of these individuals are studying neuroscience at the moment, so Fred felt this was excellent timing.

I had completely forgotten that refreshments are always expected at these events. Thankfully, when it was realized that this had not been organized, Patrick stepped up to the plate and arranged caterers to handle these details. I engaged the CEO’s involvement in ensuring a suitable room was provided with tables and bottled water.

The remainder of the week is signing up participants, trialing them on the simulator and getting things moving for the next three months of research. Thankfully, Patrick and Harry have been fully engaged in ensuring this is a success. On our part, I have encouraged that medical students interested in neuro be given an opportunity to engage in this study. Fred and his Anatomy Dept have taken this to heart and have been doing their part to ensure participation.

Tomorrow morning is a coffee reception at the Canadian High Commissioner’s official residence. Official invitations (requiring RSVP) have been going out from the HC since Monday morning and the media is also invited to attend. There is actually significant enthusiasm for this event and Nichole, the executive assistant tells me things are progressing very well.  I am so very grateful to the HC for his enthusiasm and commitment to our project work. I is just so rewarding to me personally, having his full engagement from the commencement of his term.

The research team concludes their stay Saturday evening, so Saturday is wrap-up and to be a tourist and shopping day.

I expect that this research study will become significant news in the scientific community internationally, as things progress. It’s a milestone moment for KBNF and Ghana and Canada. If this proves successful and results in transforming neurosurgery training in remote areas, it could lead to breakthroughs in how surgeons are trained in all areas of the developing world. And the next step could be mentoring surgeons during live surgeries. Really, the sky’s the limit!

If it is not a success then our Canadian researchers can return to the drawing board, more knowledgeable but with an aim to refine their program and to engage in further study, until success is realized. All in all, this is a win/win situation for potential surgery developments in the 21st century.

KBTH 90th Anniversary Lecture

Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s 90th Anniversary Lecture was given by Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey on September 18th, 2013. The title of the lecture was “NINETY YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN HEALTH CARE: OUR FUTURE ASPIRATIONS AND CHALLENGES” and it is our pleasure to share it with you on our website.



I thank God for the privilege to deliver the 90th Anniversary lecture for an institution of monumental significance in the life and history of our nation. Korle Bu has been instrumental first in the health of millions of Ghanaians and foreign nationals. It has served to train health workers and specialists who have served in all parts of the country. A good number of products of this institution are also working in health institutions around the world. Korle Bu has and continues to be a site for medical research with results that have benefitted medical science significantly. Additionally, this hospital has contributed greatly to the establishment of medical schools and of regional and district hospitals in the country.

Korle Bu has its place in medical history too. Research work at this hospital led to the discovery of yellow fever. This resulted in the development of a vaccine against that disease. As some of you know, the viral strain used to develop the vaccine named the Asibi strain, was isolated from a Ghanaian called Asibi in 1927. Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, a Japanese Scientist at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, USA and Dr. William A. Young of Great Britain who were part of the research team both died from this disease in 1928. Ghana also takes its place in medical history through Dr. Cicely Williams, a Jamaican-born Oxford scholar who reported protein-calorie malnutrition from her work at the Princess- Marie Louis hospital, at Korle Bu and at other locations from 1929-1936. She named the disease Kwashiorkor (originating from the Ga language). This name is known in medical literature.
Our own Professor Felix Konotey Ahulu worked at Korle Bu to contribute to advances in the knowledge of sickle cell disease.
It should be a source of pride to the nation that the reputation of Korle Bu is captured in its recognition as a referral center for WHO in West Africa. Ghana and Korle Bu’s very own Dr. Anarfi Asamoah Baah, is the Deputy Director General of WHO.

The contribution this hospital has made to health and to socio-economic development in Ghana, West Africa and the world is truly significant.

On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, we all must give thanks first to Almighty God for the vital role Korle Bu has played in our development. And second, we must recognize and salute those who have dedicated themselves to make Korle Bu what it is today. We must thank God for generations of doctors, nurses, anesthetists, dentists, pharmacists, dieticians, physiotherapists, record managers, radiologists, oncologists, teachers, ward assistants, orderlies, cleaners, drivers, catering staff, administrators, security personnel, horticulturists, laborers and all others who have served this hospital.

May God bless all those who have devoted their lives and their resources to make Korle Bu what it is today. And may God provide more abundantly for this hospital to become one of the very best in the world.


The Theme for the 90th Anniversary Celebration and for this address is, “Ninety Years of Excellence in Health Care: Our Future Aspirations and Challenges”. This theme recognizes that over the past 90 years, Korle Bu has rendered a good degree of quality services that have benefitted many. As a direct beneficiary of care at Korle Bu, I would confirm that this hospital has, on many occasions, been indeed a blessing to many, notwithstanding the enormous challenges with equipment supply and maintenance and with manpower resources and compassionate care.

The emphasis of the theme, however, is not on what has been achieved or on what is behind us. It is on what lies ahead. It is where Korle Bu will be in 50 and more years from today. How do we envision Korle Bu in the 21st Century? What role will it be playing in the health service of Ghana 50 years from today? The theme is therefore apt and visionary: We learn from the Scriptures that “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29 vs. 18).

To see clearly where we want to position Korle Bu, we must remind ourselves of the journey we have travelled, recognizing the foundations laid over the years. An overview of the history of Korle Bu is therefore important for us to appreciate the valuable lessons that should guide our vision and mission for the next 50 or so years.

In this lecture, I shall show how Korle Bu has progressively developed to the present state. I shall then address the subject of what our future aspirations should be – that is, where Korle Bu we should be positioned in the scheme of the health services in Ghana. After that, I shall address some of the major challenges that we must confront, if we shall succeed in moving the hospital to new and greater heights.


Korle Bu Hospital, originally known as the Gold Coast Hospital, came about as a result of a policy of the British colonial government to extend health services to the indigenes. Prior to that and before the 20th Century, health care focused on slave traders, colonial workers, and on Africans employed by the colonial government.

With growth of the British administration and its penetration to the interior of the Gold Coast; with increased missionary activity; with expansion of military services within the Gold Coast and with high mortality rates among Europeans, the need to expand the health services became evident.

Under Governor Hugh Clifford a new policy was established to extend health services to the indigenes. There was increasing burden for health care and therefore the need for training of health auxiliary staff. Until then, the indigenes had relied solely on traditional medical care.

When Governor Gordon Guggisberg took over in 1919 he extended the colonial policies to include economic development of the Gold Coast.

Canadian-born Guggisberg, served first as Director of Surveys in the Gold Coast in 1905, and then as Governor from 1919 to 1927. The vision and passion of this man, for Africa, must inspire all good leaders who seek to be part of the crusade to rebuild the continent.
Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg was providentially assigned to Ghana to be, in his own words, “an Engineer, sent out to superintend the construction of a broad Highway of Progress along which the races of the Gold Coast may advance —– to those far Cities of Promise, the Cities of Final Development, Wealth and Happiness.”
In pursuing this vision, Sir Gordon Guggisberg invested his life fully to lay a solid foundation upon which the Gold Coast was to ‘progressively’ develop. His contribution to the economic development of our country has, indeed, been monumental and invaluable.
From a biographical sketch documented by Professor Robert Addo-Fening of the Department of History of the University of Ghana, his grandfather, a Polish Jew, went into exile in a village in Switzerland called Guggisberg. He did this “in order to escape possible conscription into the Russian army.” Apparently, to hide his identity, the grandfather adopted the name of this village as their family name. Two of his children, John and Frederick Guggisberg, migrated to Preston Ontario, Canada. In Galt, Ontario, Sir Guggisberg was born to Frederick Guggisburg in 1869. Four years later, his father died. His mother later married an English Admiral called Ramsey Dennis who took the family to Britain. Here, Sir Guggisberg was educated and served in the colonial administration where he rose from the rank of Second Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers to Brigadier General.
Sir Guggisberg, a committed Christian, served in several countries in his career including Singapore, India, the Gold Coast, France, Nigeria and in Guyana, his last post before he died in 1930.
His achievements of historic importance and international relevance were in the period he worked in the Gold Coast, first at the Survey Department from 1902 to 1908, and then as Governor, from 1919 to 1927.
As a surveyor, Guggisberg helped to establish the map of the Gold Coast. This difficult assignment that required extensive travel through the length and breadth of the country was at great risk to his life. But it served an extremely useful purpose: It brought him in touch with the chiefs and people of the Gold Coast and to our culture. Through this, he recognized the economic potential of the country. More importantly, he recognized the capabilities of the African.
As Governor, he focused on the building of an infrastructure that would promote growth of the economy and therefore give the Gold Coast a competitive advantage in the world market. Trade in cocoa was foremost on his mind. He, therefore, invested resources at his disposal to build a seaport at Takoradi in 1928 and to construct extensive network of roads (260 miles) and of railways (230 miles). He also strengthened education and improved health care to advance our nation through a 10-year development plan.
In improving public health, Guggisberg focused on sanitation and on pipe-borne water supply for Accra, Sekondi, Winneba and Kumasi. He also pursued the plan for a government hospital for the Gold Coast. Communicable diseases were rife at the time, with malaria, tuberculosis, yellow fever, leprosy, yaws, dysentery, syphilis and others, but Guggisberg recognized the critical need to provide for hospital-based care also.
A major outcome of his vision in health was the building in 1923 of the Gold Coast Hospital, now the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Guggisberg also anticipated the building of a Medical School and other health training institutions. He therefore acquired from the chiefs and people of Sempe, Accra, 160 acres of land to accommodate that vision.
Under Guggisberg, a Medical Research Institute was also established at Korle Bu. It was in this laboratory that Dr. Noguchi and Dr. Young and others worked on infectious diseases.
Governor Ransford Slater (remembered by Slater Avenue), took over from Guggisberg in 1927. He slowed the pace of development in the health services initiated by Guggisberg and postponed the plan for a Medical School. Instead, he favored the training of nurses, medical assistants, sanitary workers and midwives. He also retrenched the health staff for economic reasons.
Between 1932 and 1957 when Ghana gained Independence, 12 governors of the British Administration served in succession. A major policy shift in health in that period was in the decision to train doctors and dental staff overseas.
Between 1900 and 1953, a number of health training institutions emerged.
From 1962, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah led major advances in the development of health care in Ghana, beginning with the establishment of the Ghana Medical School at Korle Bu.
Dr. Nkrumah added significantly to the work of Sir Guggisberg at Korle Bu by building the four tower blocks between 1962 and 1964 – the departments of Medicine and Therapeutics, Child Health, Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
With these developments, Korle Bu gained the status of a Teaching Hospital.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah focused on an industrialized economy with significant investments in energy to support his plans. To this end, he built the Akosombo Dam and established the Atomic Energy Commission. He also built the largest seaport in West Africa, the Tema Harbor and expanded road and railway networks to facilitate the movement of people and goods.
Further, Dr. Nkrumah expanded primary, secondary and tertiary education. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Cape Coast are monuments of his contribution to education and to advance the development of the human resource base towards economic independence.
This vast infrastructure development facilitated growth in all sectors of the economy including health, with significant impact on localizing training of health personnel.
At Korle Bu alone, there had been rapid growth in health training institutions at the tertiary level.
There had also been rapid development of specialist centers. Among these are the center for Clinical Genetics, initiated by Professor Felix Konotey Ahulu in 1975; the National Cardiothoracic Center, established in 1989 by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng; the Reconstructive Plastic and Burns Center, commissioned in May 1997 with huge investment through Dr. Jack Mustarde, a British philanthropist. Other centers are the National Center for Radiotherapy, commissioned in May 1998 under President John Jerry Rawlings. Under Rawlings, the Dental School, the School of Public Health and the School of Allied Health Sciences were also established.
Under President Kufuor several developments occurred. These included the building of a new Administrative Center, Physiotherapy Department, a new Central Laboratory, renovation of the Gynecology theatre, the building of an oxygen plant and the provision of stand-by generators. During the term of Kufuor, kidney dialysis was expanded and kidney transplants began with a joint team of specialists from Ghana and the United Kingdom.
President John Evans Atta Mills added significantly to growth at Korle Bu. Projects initiated in his term included the National Blood Bank Center, the new Eye Center, the new Imaging Center (CT Scan and MRI), and the Reproductive Center. In his term, the Children’s Block Surgical Theatre was renovated and the fiber optic network connection of the entire hospital was established to join the e-Government project. This has laid a strong IT foundation for e-Hospital and Telemedicine at Korle Bu.
More importantly, President Mills initiated plans for the building of an ultra-modern 650-bed Korle Bu Emergency and Clinical Subspecialties Hospital based on a new Master Plan prepared in December 2009 for the Hospital. The Consultants for this project were Canadian Planning Architects led by Mr. Don Jenion, under the auspices of a Canadian NGO known as the Korle Bu Neuroscience Foundation led by a neuroscience nurse, Marjorie Ratel.
Funding for the first phase of this project is available from the Saudi, Kuwaiti, Badea and OFID funds.
When the new hospital is built, the capacity of Korle Bu to offer highly specialized services will be significantly enhanced. This will position Korle Bu to become a quaternary referral center in Ghana, in West Africa and in the continent of Africa. Korle Bu will become a highly specialized health institution, comparable to any in the developed world, offering advanced clinical services. This will also make Ghana quite independent in health services delivery, having capacity to manage all complex health issues. At this level, Korle Bu shall become a center that will attract patients requiring specialized care from the global community.
President John Dramani Mahama, our current President, has the special privilege of implementing the plans for this innovative Korle Bu Hospital project. When built, President Mahama will take a monumental place in African history as the one responsible for the new birth or renaissance of Korle Bu.


If Korle Bu will be a world-class hospital delivering superb clinical services equal to the best in the world, what must we begin to do to achieve that? What role must Korle Bu play in the overall development plan of the Ministry of Health to make Ghana independent in health services delivery? What role do we expect Ghana to play as a key partner in the global world of health? What kind of leadership is needed to move Korle Bu to greater heights? And what challenges must we recognize and contend with to ensure that the new vision and mission are followed?
The new Master Plan, developed by our Canadian partners, seek to establish a health institution that would serve Ghana well over the next 50 or so years.
Underpinnings in it are the availability of land, a compact hospital concept for efficient and effective health services delivery, quality health-care assurance and sustainability of health services.


When Guggisberg acquired 160 acres of land for the Gold Coast Hospital, he had the economy of land use in mind. He therefore built a compact hospital with inter-connected wards and health delivery facilities, leaving the rest of the land for future development.
Over the years, however, there was a shift from Guggisberg’s concept of a hospital. The tower blocks, for example, were widely separated, with attendant problems of maintenance and of effective and efficient interdepartmental care of patients.
Several other buildings had also been sited without consideration of facility adjacencies to permit efficient functioning of the hospital.
Fortunately, the hospital still has 24 acres of land un-encumbered to use for building the new hospital center. There are also pockets of undeveloped plots within the hospital boundaries, as well as plots that can be redeveloped to maximize staff housing.
Managers of the hospital must use this available land wisely and not repeat mistakes of the past. We must appreciate Professor Frimpong-Boateng for securing the remaining property of the hospital (including the 24 acre plot). We should also acknowledge Professor Nii Otu Nartey for requesting a new Master Plan and for insisting developments at the hospital are based on that plan.
What all of us must keep in mind is that Korle Bu will be here in the next 50, 100, 200 years and longer. Land use must, therefore, be carefully planned to allow for 50-year cycles of development.
As we begin building the new hospital, plans must be in place now for how the current site of the hospital (old site) will be wisely used when the life span of the new hospital is reached.
What I am advocating for is a land-use policy at Korle Bu. And this policy must be rigidly adhered to, just as Governor Guggisberg originally intended.

It is fortunate and timely that a new hospital is being planned within Korle Bu at this time. With this, Government must carefully think through what role Korle Bu should now be playing in its development plans for the health services over the next 50 years. This is critically important and must instruct revisions in the various ACTS covering the health services including ACT 525 for the Teaching Hospitals.

Korle Bu has operated more like a general hospital than a specialized one for many years. Especially in Accra, medical and surgical emergencies and obstetrical emergencies that could be effectively managed at general hospitals and even at polyclinic levels are brought to Korle Bu. The result is that the specialized staff at Korle Bu is over-burdened. The hospital is therefore unable to function effectively as a tertiary referral center.

With current population of Accra at about 4 million (4 times what it was at the 1990 census), plans must be made to decongest this hospital and allow it to offer more critical services. The Ridge Hospital, the Police Hospital, 37 Military, Legon Hospital and other hospitals established in the capital including those at Teshie and La are still inadequate to cope with the burden of health care in Greater Accra and to decongest Korle Bu. More hospitals are needed especially at the western and northern corridors of Accra. In this regard, the new University of Ghana Hospital has come at the right time.
As a Teaching Hospital with responsibility for producing high grade specialists in all disciplines, government must seriously consider upgrading Korle Bu to the quaternary level. Korle Bu should be resourced to be able to function at such a level.
If this proposal is accepted, Korle Bu could now be mandated to play a major role in producing super-specialists for Ghana, additional to its current role as a site for basic training of doctors, dental surgeons, pharmacists, nurses and technologists.

In collaboration with the new University of Ghana Hospital, Korle Bu will also become a site for advancing medical research.

To position Korle Bu as a quaternary health institution, I would recommend the following:

I would like to propose that the current Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Polyclinic that has been in existence since 1964 be upgraded to a General Hospital, equivalent to a Regional Hospital. Such a facility would take over much of the current load of the main hospital. It will also serve as an additional site for undergraduate training of doctors, nurses, technologists and other health professionals.

The remainder of our Regional Hospitals are now reasonably well equipped. It should therefore not take much to upgrade them to teaching hospitals, as has been recently done for the Cape Coast and Tamale hospitals. This will enable Ghana to expand its infrastructure for producing health professionals with great benefit to all citizens. With this, we should be able to offer more assistance to the neighboring countries in their efforts to develop adequate numbers of well qualified health professionals.

Government should also begin to plan to strengthen District Hospitals to become training sites for all cadres of health professionals. Indeed, some of the District hospitals are already performing such a role. If we make this a national policy, it will help to bring quality health care closer to every home and, especially, to rural dwellers. We cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals for Health if we do not bring quality health closer to the doors of every one in our communities. And our goals for health should not be limited to the MDGs that are intended to drive national and global improvements in health care. Our goal must be to develop our health services to the level where no woman should die from pregnancy or complications of it and where every child survives and grows to achieve his or her full potential.

Korle Bu will not achieve a quaternary level of health care and in a sustainable manner without adequate investments in the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and in our Colleges of Health Sciences. At the current levels of producing specialists, it will take a long time to develop adequate manpower to the levels that would be required for Korle Bu and for the new University of Ghana Hospital.

It is to be noted that the Ghana College has since 2007 produced a total of 154 specialists in the division of Physicians and 216 in the division of Surgeons. And this covers only a limited area of sub-specialties.

I have already noted some advantages in moving Korle Bu a notch higher in the scheme of services in the health sector. Other benefits will be the following:

A quaternary hospital sets the highest standards for highly skilled professional care of the patient. This is critical also for sustainability of quality health care of the patient. The standard of care of the patient, including critical care, would cascade from here to all levels in the health care system down to the District Hospitals and to Health Posts.

Quality of medical research will be strengthened when Korle Bu is positioned to offer highly specialized services that should free its consultants and teachers time to prosecute high level clinical research. As the standard of research and of clinical science is raised, the hospital will drive the health research agenda in the country. Results of research in collaboration with health research centers such as Noguchi should position Ghana to attract the best medical researchers and also attract significant research grants. Korle Bu, ultimately, has great research potential, especially in the area of tropical medicine.

Sustainability of our health services is directly related to the quality of academic leaders we have in our institution and those they, in turn, would produce. In the next 20-50 years, we need professors in nursing, pharmacy, allied health, medicine, surgery and dentistry who will be expertly mentoring the next generation of academic leaders.

As noted earlier, this hospital, in conjunction with the Ghana College and with the University of Ghana Hospital, must also be able to produce high-caliber specialists and consultants for all regional and district hospitals.

d. INTERNATIONAL HEALTH TRAINING SITE: Over the next 20-50 years, Korle Bu should position itself to be a preferred center for training for health specialists for other African countries. Indeed, it should be able to attract students from the rest of the world, as we see already happening.

An important requirement for strong institutions that have sustainable programs is the ability to attract and retain high caliber health professionals and managers. To be able to achieve this, the hospital must adequately reward its staff for services they provide. When Korle Bu is functioning as a quaternary hospital, it should be possible to generate significant income from faculty and intra-mural practice, as well as from other services it will offer. Indeed, if government establishes such a policy and implements it, the hospital should be able to generate enough funds to sustain its programs and to reward its staff in ways that will enable them to render quality services and enjoy quality of life. With such a policy, industrial actions should hardly be encountered.

f. TELE-EDUCATION AND TELE-MEDICINE: Korle Bu, together with the University of Ghana Hospital, should be the nerve center in an online referral system where doctors and other health professionals at regional and district hospitals can access professional advice through Tele-medicine. By this, many patients could be managed at regional and district hospitals without need to move them to a higher center. Current medical technology even allows remote surgical procedures. Korle Bu should invest in this.

Major challenges to be addressed for this hospital to move to the next level and to become a major player in global health are the following:

i) Focused and carefully planned and executed National Agenda for Health. Many have called for a National Strategic Plan that will set the agenda for effective and sustained development of the nation over the next several years. This is essential. Developing a nation and its institutions on party manifestos not linked to a national strategic plan is not the best. Manifestos must be based on and derived from a National Strategic Plan for sustained development. A long range (30-50 year) national strategic plan is needed, therefore.

With this in place, governments will be held accountable for and evaluated by how far they advance the national plan within the period of their stewardship. It is within such a national framework for development that Korle Bu can be properly positioned and developed to become a world-class health provider.

ii) Strong Governance structures:
An institution is as strong as its governance system. With competent men and women in governance, the hospital will have a good chance of achieving its ends.

iii) Strong and Effective Leadership:
Perhaps the most important challenge that will face the hospital in its aspiration to the next level of development is leadership. I am not referring only to the top position of the Chief Administrator but also to all leadership positions, managerial and academic. We must endeavor to attract strong, visionary, passionate and compassionate leaders who will follow an approved developmental agenda for the hospital. Such leaders must be skilled in building strong, effective and caring health-delivery teams. They must also have a healthy attitude, with plans to grow the next generation of leaders through a well documented and followed succession plan.
iv) Quality Human Resource for Health:
Another major challenge that will face this hospital in its plans to be a first class health institution is staffing. When the new 650-bed University of Ghana Hospital is completed by early 2015, most of the current health professionals of the Medical School serving Korle Bu will be relocated. A Committee is already in place examining and addressing this critical challenge and I have no doubt they will come with a blue-print solution.

I strongly believe that there is a great blessing in the challenges we face in regard to human resource capacity building. Ghana has suffered brain-drain for several years. Many of our key professionals serving abroad have improved themselves and are highly qualified. They are also at the stage in their lives where they are planning to return. This is a golden opportunity for Ghana to attract and recruit them to serve. This is time for Ghana to transform “Brain-Drain” into “Brain-Gain”.

When well resourced, the Korle Bu hospital should also be able to attract well qualified workers from other nations.

iv) Biomedical Engineering and Equipment Maintenance Culture:
A critical problem that has plagued the health system of this country for decades that must be addressed now is equipment maintenance. Year after year, government invests huge sums of money to procure costly capital equipment for hospitals. Comparatively, little emphasis is placed on maintaining such valuable equipment. Consequently, the equipment suffers rapid break downs, with shortened life-span. This greatly affects delivery of essential health services.

This trend must be reversed if we would make meaningful progress in the health sector. There should be a concerted effort to revamp biomedical engineering and to strengthen our Colleges of Engineering to produce more biomedical professionals. There is also need to standardize equipment procurement and maintenance.

v) Accommodation and other facilities for Staff, Patients and Visitors:
It is important that staff (especially critical care givers) should be comfortably housed close to the hospital. The needs of their children (including education) should also be catered for.

In the Master Plan, provision has been made for a Medical Hotel. This is a modern best practice, in consideration of the needs of patients from overseas and their relatives. It will also serve relatives of patients referred from other parts of the country.

vi) Vehicle Parking: The need for a multi-story car parking facility is long overdue. Any visitor to the hospital is immediately faced with the challenge of parking. The Master Plan addresses this problem. But more has to be done. If this is effectively managed, it could be a good source of income long-term.

In summary, I would say that we are in no doubt at all that Korle Bu has served this nation well and contributed significantly to socio-economic development. It should now be positioned to contribute more effectively as a leader in provision of best quality health care and in medical research. It should provide expert care with best standards in clinical practice with the patient at the center; It should provide super education and training for critical health staff; It should be led by visionary men and women with passion for advancement of Ghana and with skills for innovation and positive change; it should have clinical workers with healthy attitudes and compassionate hearts.

I once again thank God for grace for me to prepare this lecture. I thank the Board for the invitation considering me worthy to speak on the theme. Professor S.K Addae’s book on “History of Modern Western Medicine in Ghana” provided rich resource of information. I take this opportunity to thank the doctors and other staff that expertly saved my life 3 years ago. I thank Cecilia my wife and the rest of my family for support; I acknowledge the expert services rendered by the Canadian Planning Team led by Don Jenion. I also thank Ms Marjorie Ratel and the Korle Bu Neuroscience Foundation Canada group for invaluable help to the hospital and for personal assistance. Professor Nii Otu Nartey helped with preparation of the address and Monica Dzikunu provided secretarial assistance. I am grateful to them.

And now we should all say with E.T Mensah and his Temple’s Band “Korle Bu, Korle Bu, Korle Bu, Oyiwala donn”.

I thank you all.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

Analyses of the Types of Neurological Disorders

Amara Uzoma-Uzo, Third Year Medical Student UTMB School of Medicine Class of 2015

Analyses of the Types of Neurological Disorders- Korle-Bu Hospital 2012

Amara shares:

“During the summer of 2012,  I was fortunate enough to visit Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. While there, I participated in a project that analyzed the  types of neurological disorders that presented at the Korle-Bu Hospital. I hope to continue working with the faculty and physicians there so that Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital can continue to maintain its excellent standard of care.”

Rheumatic Heart Disease – Renewed Attention to an Old Problem

Rosalyn Adigun, MD PharmD 2013 Graduate, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Rheumatic Heart Disease – Renewed Attention to an Old Problem-Ghana 2013

Rosalyn shares:

“During my second visit to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (March — April 2013),  I was interested in evaluating the burden of Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) diagnosed via echocardiography  in the patients at the National Cardiothoracic Center located on the grounds of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra Ghana.

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) remains a major cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in developing countries and with the transatlantic migration of people for various reasons, it is increasingly important  to implement better surveillance by health care personnel  in developed nations.  Although the preceding infection Acute Rheumatic fever (ARF) and RHD are rare in developed countries, they pose major public health problems among children and young adults in developing countries where these diseases are endemic with their most devastating sequelae presenting during the most productive years of the affected population.

The objective of my project was to evaluate the burden of RHD in Ghana by evaluating the echocardiography data in patients evaluated at the National Cardiothoracic Center Accra Ghana between November 2010 and November 2012. I was able to review over 9000 echocardiograms conducted during this period, and the World Heart Federation criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis of RHD was used to determine if a patient met the criteria for RHD.

While there are still limitations to capturing the real burden of the RHD in Ghana, this information learned from the project will provide evidence-based information to clinicians in educating patients, establishing surveillance programs, and providing better care to patients presenting with RHD. I hope to submit an abstract of my research findings for publication in the near future.”

June Juicy News 2013

Dear KBNF family and friends,

KBNF has been in a flurry of activity for months now. Whether shipping hospital equipment and supplies, participating in conferences and conducting mission trips as well as partnering in the establishment of advanced neuroscience and medical services, our team is fully engaged. Now for juicy news!

Our internal auditor last June identified our 12 top goals as “lofty”. He was right. Why? Because accomplishing these goals on the surface would appear daunting neigh unto impossible considering our projected financial resources. On review in January, we were delighted to realize that 11 of our top goals were works well in progress or completed. How? Because of our dedicated team.

I was having coffee with our Canadian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Mrs. Trudy Kernigan, recently and shared that if it weren’t for unwavering champions in Ghana and West Africa, of which we are blessed with several, establishing transformative North American standard health care in many respects would be insurmountable. Thankfully, that is not the case.

The phone rang. It was Dr. Gladstone Kessie. Gladstone is the Medical Director of Mt. Olives Hospital and founder of the under construction Mt. Olives Hospital Foundation, serving the people of Brong Ahafo Region. His reputation of serving the rural people at reduced costs is well appreciated. Providing free medical care for those in need is a priority for this gentle doctor. He is in Israel for 2 weeks, studying hospital systems management. He was excited to share how incredibly Israel has mastered health care delivery, hospitals, and farming techniques. Fruits, vegetables, flowers, they are all growing in abundance in a previously desolate land. “Why can’t we do this back home?” he passionately cried. My sentiments exactly. Gladstone believes he will never be the same. His vision for Ghana has just undergone transformative change . . . for the better . . . for Ghana.

The Ghana Association of Radiologists in collaboration with The Faculty of Radiology and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons & West Africa College of Surgeons held the Inaugural Neuroradiology Conference June 3 – 5th in Accra. KBNF Board of Directors and participants, Drs. Paul King and Jocelyne Lapointe, lectured on several topics including neuro-anatomy, spinal trauma, cranial nerve evaluation and imaging and orbital neoplasia.

Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) Visiting Radiology Consultant will be returning to Vancouver, as she concludes her tenure in Ghana this August. Much appreciation goes to her brother, Yves Lapointe, who managed her home and legal responsibilities. Yves will be returning home to Montreal.

It is the mutual desire of KBNF, the KBTH Administration to introduce the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Director of Nursing, Mrs. Victoria Aku Quaye to contemporary Canadian nursing care delivery. We mutually agree that exposure to Western Canada’s premiere centres will be extremely valuable in accelerating nursing advancement in Ghana. It is anticipated that adoption of many components of contemporary nursing care, nursing resources and administrative management practices may result. Join us in welcoming Victoria to Vancouver this summer. This will be her first Canadian visit.

Watch for more news, including my May visit to Ghana!!

A State Banquet with the Canadian Governor General

I arrived in Ghana Tuesday evening on a Lufthansa flight. I was surprised to find it was rather cool, by Ghanaian standards. My luggage was actually waiting for me when I exited customs — a first. I headed out of the airport dressed for a state banquet in honor of the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, and his wife Sharon Johnston. The Governor General had been in town for a couple of days and the previous day a private luncheon was held where Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey was an honored guest. Seth tells me that His Excellency is very familiar with World Vision International and Canada leadership. Seth held the position of Vice-Chair of World Vision International for many years. Consequently, discussion on a variety of topics revealed many common interests.

The state banquet hosted by President Mahama was held at Flagstaff House, an impressive white structure completed in 2008 resembling the King’s throne. This government building, having been mostly unused during the Mills administration is now gradually becoming occupied. Beautiful bushes boasting of flowers galore framed the entrance and members of all major Ghanaian political parties were represented at the event. I sat next to the leader of the CPP, a young energetic engineer who has a passion for his country. Other members at my table included the Cuban Ambassador, Jorge Nicolas, and the Director for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mubarak Abdallah. I received commitments from these men of their support for our cause. Cuba trains doctors and many Ghanaian physicians, and one of our KBTH neurosurgeons was trained there. Small world!

The meal was a very tasty mashed baked yam base with a fish and vegetables topping. I almost missed dessert but I was glad I made it as it was one of my favorites: chocolate mousse and whipping cream. I returned to my table as everyone was leaving, so that I was one of the last to leave!

The event was well attended by Canadians. President and Vice-Chancellor of Western University, Amit Chakma; Hon. David McGuinty, MP, Ottawa South; Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO Chamber of Commerce; and Rodney Thomas, First Vice-President Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, were a few of my the people I encountered. The music played was lovely. When the Canadian anthem was played, the orchestral arrangement was new to me and was just lovely. The room literally erupted in robust singing and you could feel the loyalty and love for Canada.

The Governor General and his wife enjoyed a superb evening. There was much laughter and enthusiasm for such a special event. Tomorrow, the Canadian entourage flies to Kumasi and upon their return, a special evening at the High Commissioner’s official residence is planned, with honors being bestowed upon specially chosen Canadians.

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.

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.

Happy New Year!

As 2012 comes to a close, KBNF saw the advent of our first neuro-specialist relocating to Ghana. Ghanaian Parliament approved the College of Health Sciences and Korle Bu Teaching Centre of Excellence Hospitals, a project initiated by KBNF. Reaching out upon an invitation, exploratory tours were conducted for the first time in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Korle-Bu Neuroscience multinational medical team had the privilege this year of leading and participating in four neuroscience and medical teaching conferences, both in Ghana and as an inaugural event in Liberia. Visiting the Brong Ahafo region in the interior of Ghana revealed a physician passionate in his pursuit of excellence in health care delivery. A partnership has begun in earnest. Two more container shipments headed overseas to Ghana and Nigeria. KBTH patients received pillows and Patrick is being given life saving care.

Many in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria were encouraged this year by Danny Moe’s inspiring “Stars shine the brightest when the night is the darkest” DVD presentation. I encourage everyone to take the time to listen to this message, a gift to you all. (Here is a link to it.)

In conclusion, King George VI quoted from a poignant poem sent to him in a Christmas card from one of his subjects in 1939, that is engraved on the gates of the Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle and was read at Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s state funeral, “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year. Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”

May 2013 be embarked upon with confidence — for us all, and as KBNF embraces opportunities given to us for fostering health and hope to the precious people of West Africa.

On behalf of the KBNF Board of Directors and family.