Update on Erica, Liberia’s Neurosurgical First

Erica’s Update: Change takes a Champion

Dear friends, in 2014 Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation went to Liberia for our first Liberian Neurosurgical Medical Mission. We went at the invitation of Dr. Francis Kateh, then the CEO of Jackson F. Doe Memorial Referral Hospital, now Deputy Minister of Health. Our team of volunteer nurses, surgeons and support staff came from Canada, America and Nigeria to give Erica the chance of a lifetime.

Because of her plea, many more Liberians were able to get the vital Neurosurgery they needed. While we were there, Ebola broke out. We soldiered on, and when we got back to Canada, KBNF asked Dr. Kateh (then in charge of Liberia's medical response to Ebola) what Liberia needed most to fight Ebola. We sent over eight containers of medical supplies, beds and support items to help sustain and rebuild Liberia's shattered health care system during, and after the Ebola Pandemic.

It began with Erica, a brave young woman who refused to die because of where she was born. Her courage and dedication to see it through has changed the face of her entire country's medical future. KBNF will continue to support Liberia, to provide education and training to neurological & neurosurgical staff, to enhance safe surgical practices and help grow health care until Liberia no longer needs the support.

Who is your Erica? Where are they from? This holiday season, give for the people like Erica, who are desperate for surgeries, which will bring them back to wholeness so they too can spend their lives improving their countries and loving their families.

Thank you.


Nigerian Neurosurgery Unit Damaged in Fire!

Tragic news, family!

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Our dear friends in Nigeria, Neurosurgeon Dr. David Udoh, his Head Nurse Priscilla and their staff came to us with news that a fire broke out in their unit.

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Years ago, we sent a container of medical equipment and supplies to set up the Neurosurgery unit at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Our 2009 Medical Mission had us in that unit conducting surgery and helping the people of Nigeria.

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Dr. Udoh comes on all our Medical Missions, and is an integral part of the KBNF Family. We need to bring them some relief. Help us put the money together to send them a container to replace what was lost.

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Help Rebuild UBTH's Neurosurgery Ward

Help us send a shipping container of medical equipment and supplies to Dr. Udoh’s Neurosurgery Ward in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria. Dr. Udoh and his team are instrumental to KBNF’s success in West Africa. It’s time to help!


KBNF is now a Member of the G4 Alliance

It is with the utmost pride and honour that Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation announces our membership with the G4 Alliance, which is “dedicated to building political priority for surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care as part of the global development agenda” (www.theg4alliance.org for more information).

We are thrilled to connect, and even more thrilled with our upcoming Medical Mission to Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia & Sierra Leone leaving May 2016.

Cheers, all!
Marj

Support Neurosurgery in West Africa

Regardless of geographical location & financial status, everyone worldwide should have access to medical care. Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation is determined to foster Neurosurgery in West Africa, for all who have need.


The Udohs Get Their Miracle!

Here’s Marj with the next chapter of the KBNF and Udoh family escapades!

David and his family travelled to Lagos to pursue Italian transit visas. As they were heading to the Embassy, David received a call from the Canadian Embassy, instructing the family to report to the High Commission. The taxi detoured and the group made their way to the Canadian Consulate, wondering what this all meant.

David recalls, “We got visas at Canada Embassy. No questions. Thank you, Marj. My love to Team KBNF. What an unbelievable “Never Say Die” oraganization. Can’t wait to see you all. Love, the Udohs.”

Nadia and Joyce, our travel agents, worked so hard to figure this all out one way or another. Thankfully, we’ll have the Udohs in Trinidad for the conference! Everyone, including Mark Warawa’s office, worked diligently to try to ensure that all pertinent information was received. When I was washing my hands at the kitchen last Sunday, the words came to me spoken by Winston Churchill: Never give up, never give up, never give up! I took that message as a sign that we were to persevere. Then a chorus came to me: God has a 1,000 ways, to answer every prayer . . . no good will He withhold, from children of his care.” I told Danny, and we prayed for a miracle. Well, we have one. And just in the nick of time!


Nigerian Container Update

I am so pleased to report that our Nigerian container was cleared from Tin Can Island Port last weekend. The first half of the container, destined for our University of Benin Teaching Hospital neurosurgery unit in Benin City, was delivered while the second half is on its way to a new maternity clinic in northern Nigeria.

We want to thank all of our team for their diligence in donating their time, expertise and effort in making this shipment possible. And big thanks to Rick Diamond and Diamond Delivery for their faithful support in transferring equipment and supplies from Vancouver to Victoria. Arranging for Seaspan to take our cargo across the Georgia Strait for free was such a cost savings. And thank you to Compassionate Resource Warehouse, led by Dell’s team, for their amazing attention to detail and efforts to fulfill the requests of our Nigerian friends — ensuring the load was filled to the maximum (i.e. no air!).

This shipment started with a heartfelt plea to help provide equipment for a maternity clinic being constructed for village women dying giving birth and our neurosurgery unit’s 20-bed expansion in Benin City.

We’ll keep you posted as photos come in.

Thanks again, everyone!!!

Click here to see additional images.


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.

Love,

Marj


Korle-Bu Neuroscience Club – Victoria

We are always so pleased to hear of university students eager to support our neuroscience projects in West African. Our University of Victoria students are raising interest and awareness on behalf of KBNF. Join Bernard Osei, President of KBNC, and our KBNF family in extending a big congratulations to our dear students for all these wonderful developments!


West Africa and Strokes

Here is an article that I read recently on people dying from strokes in Ghana.

I am so pleased to note that awareness is being raised in Ghana regarding the mammoth challenges and tragedies many, many Ghanaians (and West Africans) are having, particularly in the realm of strokes. There is much that needs to be done and we are committed to partnering with West Africa in prevention, being proactive, and offering effective treatment of these devastating brain attacks.

Jocelyne mentions that salt is a staple in their diets that needs to be reduced and will likely help. Struggling with high blood pressure is often a precursor to stroke. So much can be done . . .

The loss of one contributing adult in West African society is a critical loss. Why? Because those countries, with meagre resources, have invested in that life and their loss may impact an entire family’s viability, a community, and a nation. One tragic example is our loss of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Head Physiotherapist, at the age of 57. There are so few rehabilitation specialists anywhere in Ghana or West Africa. His loss was devastating.

Please partner with us to reduce strokes. Many lives depend on it.


Nigerian Container Update

The container shipment of hospital supplies and equipment for the Nigerian maternity hospital and University of Benin Teaching Hospital neurosurgery unit will arrive in Tincan Port on November 25th. I am working with our receiving parties to coordinate the arrival, unloading and smooth unpacking of the cargo.


Reducing Strokes in West Africa

Here is an article that I came across recently regarding young people having strokes in West Africa.

I am so pleased to note that awareness is being raised in Ghana regarding the mammoth challenges and tragedies many, many Ghanaians (and West Africans) are having, particularly in the realm of strokes. There is much that needs to be done and we are committed to partnering with West Africa in prevention, being proactive, and effectively treating these devastating brain attacks.

Jocelyne mentions that salt is a staple in their diets that needs to be reduced and will likely help, singlehandedly, many struggling with high blood pressure, often a precursor to stroke. So much can be done …

The loss of one contributing adult in West African society is a critical loss. Why? Because those countries, with meager resources, have invested in that life and their loss may impact an entire family’s viability, a community, and a nation. One tragic example is our loss of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Head Physiotherapist, at the age of 57. There are so few rehabilitation specialists anywhere in Ghana or West Africa. His loss was devastating.

Please partner with us to reduce strokes. Many lives depend on it.