Dare to Dream

Danny Moe, International Speaker and Vice President of Korle-Bu Foundation, is shown in the video giving part of the KBNF DreamsWork Workshop to participants.

As a charitable organization that benefits from our donors and volunteers, we like to give back to the community when and where we can. All of our workshops are free of charge. Please visit our Workshops page for more information.

Report on Ghana Health Care Conferences

Dr. John Sampson, President of DrUMM & KBNF American affiliate, invited my participation in a critical care teaching medical mission for doctors and nurses in Ghana May 9 — 18. John, along with an expert American team, travelled extensively prior to my arrival, conducting evaluations of intensive care units throughout the country and preparing for upcoming research studies.

Arriving in Accra, Ghana May 9th, I received a warm welcome from the Police Chief of the Kotoka International Airport and Seth Ayettey’s daughter, Dr. Hannah Ayettey, along with a welcoming committee of friends, including Samuel Ampen-Asare and Gloria Peprah, GTV sportscaster. I quickly learned that the Police Chief had a critical role to play in Seth Ayettey’s rescue immediately following the home invasion last October. He described how Hannah was attempting to locate help at 1 a.m., and he had just returned home from work when the call came. His immediate actions, along with two other parishioner neighbours whose phones were on, helped to whisk Seth, haemorrhaging heavily, into their vehicle and hurry to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. The passion for his role in saving Seth’s life was palpable.

Nursing Education

Flying to Kumasi by air transport the following morning (a 25-minute flight where they graciously served a sandwich and drink prior to arrival!), teaching was already in full swing by a team of health care specialists from Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, Maryland), Howard University, Metro Atlanta and other Washington, DC based hospital centres. The nursing conferences were arranged by Mrs. Faustina Excel Adipa, Chair, Critical Care Nurses Association of Ghana, who passionately requested educational support for Ghanaian and West African nurses.

The 28 nurses in attendance came from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital ICU, Emergency, and critical care units as well as community hospitals throughout the north, east and western regions. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm generated by the team teaching, but equally so from the nurses and administrators. The greatest moments of unrivalled activity came when the medical game of Jeopardy was taught and competition between teams and nurses was lively. Systems care, including cardiac, abdominal, genito-urinary and neuroscience care, as well as end of life issues were key components of the presentations. My role included teaching neuroscience critical care including neurovital sign assessment, recognition and anticipation of subtle signs of neuro deterioration and impending crisis followed by intervention and treatment. Case studies were provided to give context to the material. Key action words critical to neuro nursing were: Prevent, Pro-act, Intervene, Stabilize and Recover.

I introduced the topic of end of life issues and how nurses have a critical role to play in supporting the patients and families as they experience grief and loss. I could tell I struck a cord in their hearts as the topic commenced. We covered the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of these precious hurting families and how best to provide purpose and a measure of hope whatever the situation is in the healthiest way possible.

Many nurses coming in from rural community hospitals were pleading for textbooks and learning material. Anything that I brought with me was quickly scooped up by team leaders of the various hospitals. A wonderful 2009 critical care textbook, donated by Bruce Forrest, VGH neuroscience RN and KBNF member, was gratefully received by the Komfo Anokye ICU administrator. It will be housed in their ICU nursing library. I promised the nurses that additional learning resources would be provided in the months ahead.

Soon after our arrival in Accra, we were fully ensconced in a full-day teaching program at 37 Military Hospital. The 95 nurses came from all over Ghana, including locally and from the central region, Cape Coast and Tema. In spite of the heat and humidity, the nurses were so enthused by the learning experience and stayed throughout the day and even for an extra 1.5 hours, to ensure they had completed their exam and all the material was completely covered.

I was startled to learn and so very encouraged to have nurses from as far away as Sierra Leone and Liberia in attendance at these nursing conferences. I learned that there are just “slim to none” educational opportunities for most West African nurses, especially those in rural districts. This stirred my heart and is something we must help address and intervene upon. KBNF and DrUMM are rich in volunteer health care expertise and we must develop educational opportunities for the nurses in the months and years ahead. The impact will be immense, as West Africa embraces health care upgrades. Without education and training, it is impossible to advance health care infrastructure and delivery.

Critical Care Education

As the nursing conferences wound down, the Fundamental Critical Care Support Course was just beginning. Sponsored by the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Department of Anaesthesia, the 2-day program was designed for critical care doctors and nurses. The 2-day program was delivered twice over four days. The 60 in attendance drove in from as far away as Tamale for the conference. Components included:

  • Recognition and assessment of the seriously ill patient
  • Airway management
  • Cardiopulmonary / cerebral resuscitation
  • Diagnosis and management of acute respiratory failure
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV)
  • Monitoring blood flow, oxygenation, and acid base balance
  • Diagnosis and management of shock
  • Neurologic support
  • Basic trauma and burn support
  • Acute coronary syndromes
  • Critical care in infants and children
  • Management of life-threatening electrolyte and metabolic disturbances
  • Life-threatening infections: diagnosis and antimicrobial therapy selection
  • Critical care in pregnancy
  • Ethics in critical care

The teaching team included Dr. Mark Walker, a trauma surgeon from Atlanta, who works alongside Dr. Paul King, KBNF neurosurgeon, Johns Hopkins anaesthesiologists / intensivists, residents, and critical care nursing educators.

Following an intense post course examination, several graduates of the program were deemed suitable for instructor status. Consequently, we are now able to expand the program throughout Ghana and West Africa to reach health care professionals longing for advancement of their knowledge and skills.

Report on Ghana Hospitals

Dr. John Sampson, President, DrUMM, KBNF’s American affiliate, and a team of experts travelled throughout Ghana to the nation’s Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Tamale, Kumasi, Cape Coast, and Accra (37 Military and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital). The team researched each ICU’s physical infrastructure; human, educational, equipment, and biomedical resources; health care delivery capabilities; and research partnership potential.

I learned that ventilators, while still in significant need, are more plentiful in the central and north region, particularly as valuable funding has arisen from football association sponsorships. For example, the Tamale Teaching Hospital’s ICU has eight fully functional 2009 model ventilators. Their intensivist, a Fundamental Critical Care Course graduate and instructor candidate, is passionate about his life work and is eager to partner with DrUMM and KBNF in advancing their unit’s standards and protocols to full North American status. I learned that they have a visiting Ghanaian neurosurgeon that comes occasionally; unfortunately many tragically die because the basic neurosurgery to remove a subdural epidural hematoma, for example, is not available to them when they need it. It is my understanding that the Government of Ghana is planning construction of a new North American standard hospital to serve the north Ghana region as well as the neighbouring nations. KBNF Project Management is pleased to support this development in the months ahead.

Kumasi’s regional teaching hospital, Komfo Anokye, has two distinctive structural sections, old and new. I had the privilege of touring Komfo Anokye’s newest hospital facilities, including the ICU and Burn Unit. It was gratifying to see quality IV pumps attached to the wall at each bedside and ventilators available for use. The unit contained a well organized and moderately stocked Code Cart, spaciousness around patient beds, quality nursing stations with central monitoring, ample supply and dirty service areas, and private rooms for all the burn and infectious patients. It was gratifying to observe the quality effort put into painting the units and hallways in pleasing patterns to lighten up the environment.

John and his team visited 37 Military Hospital’s ICU and learned that beyond their immediate ICU care delivery, they have a plan in place for a national disaster response with a unit at the ready with fully stocked beds and ventilators. A visit to the Cape Coast Hospital reinforced the eagerness of ICU directors and staff in Ghana of the desire for education and tangible support.

Spending time touring the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital’s (KBTH) Surgical Block ICU, OR and Neuro Unit, my 4th visit since 2002 revealed many urgent patient, staff, equipment, and biomedical resource needs. I had the opportunity to tour the neurosurgery unit and take photos for our project manager. It was gratifying to see our VGH beds in full use everywhere I looked. They appeared to be in good condition for the most part. The unit’s treatment room was nicely retiled. The plumbing is not working in many cases. Oxygen is available through wall apparatus. Unfortunately, suction equipment is in desperate need of repair. There was not one wall suction unit working in the Surgical Block nursing units while I was there. One portable suction was being shared among six floors and I believe that it was also malfunctioning. You can imagine that patients needing suctioning are at serious risk. We must help change this. Humidity and heat have been destructive. Rust and deterioration of windows and walls is palpable. Mosquito nets are now necessary over the paediatric beds. I learned that the resources for hospital maintenance have been insufficient and the administrators are working feverishly to restructure how they collaborate between services and units to maximize when and how support and funds are utilized.

Our team, along with Builders without Borders (Canada), is eager to partner with KBTH to renovate the entire neurosurgery floor. This would be the template of a North American standard nursing unit and hopefully be replicated throughout the building. It is anticipated that once the neurosurgery unit relocates to the new Emergency and Clinical Specialties Centre, the Surgical Block will continue to house patients for decades to come. There is a passionate desire by the staff to overcome these challenges. Amplified funding support along with interdepartmental and international collaboration is critically needed and is an area that KBNF can help KBTH develop.

A Note to Inspire

I awoke this morning to a wonderful encouragement — from our neurosurgery staff in Benin City, Nigeria. I forward on their personal notes of thanks.

I am so very honoured to have a part in this serving foundation. As Danny so aptly shares, we are Dream Carriers for a divine dream being fulfilled that is far greater than ourselves, even beyond our imagination and that is so awesome…

I honour our precious neurosurgery team in Benin City, Nigeria. Without their sacrificial investment in the lives of their people, there wouldn’t be a neurosurgery unit at all! That took faith and fortitude and perseverance.

Well done, everyone! May this only be the beginning of blessings for our Nigerian family. Members of the team will join us in Ghana in August. It will be wonderful!

Love to all!



A Story of Vision and Passion

The following was written by Prof. Seth Ayettey, Brenda MacLeod and myself. KBNF’s vision for the Neuroscience Hospital Centre of Excellence is following in the footsteps of the passion of Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg.


The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is one of several monuments in Ghana representing the outstanding contributions of Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg (1869 — 1930).  A Canadian born, British colonial administrator, he served as Governor of the Gold Coast from 1919 — 1927.  Sir Gordon Guggisberg invested his life fully to lay a solid foundation upon which Ghana has been built.  His contribution to the economic development of Ghana is unparalleled in the history of Ghana; in this he stands tall and without equals.  His vision and passion for Africa inspires all who seek to be a part of the crusade to rebuild the continent of Africa.  For this reason, we share with you a brief account of his life and work, as we also invite you to become part of the Neuroscience Centre of Excellence Project for Ghana and West Africa, bringing life and hope to many.

Gordon Guggisberg was born in Preston, Ontario, Canada.  At the age of nine his widowed mother remarried and his stepfather, English Admiral Ramsey Dennis moved the family to Great Britain. Guggisberg was subsequently educated in Britain and served in the colonial administration, rising from the rank of Second Lieutenant of the Royal Engineers to that of Brigadier General.  While having served in Singapore, Nigeria and Guiana, his greatest achievements of historic importance and international relevance were in the 14 years he worked in the Gold Coast (Ghana), including first as a Surveyor (1902 — 1908) and then as Governor (1919 — 1927).

As a surveyor, Guggisberg bequeathed the country and the world with an accurate map of Ghana.  This arduous and treacherous assignment required extensive travel throughout the length and breadth of the country bringing him in close contact with the chiefs and indigenous people and therefore to the culture of the African.

Returning to Ghana as Governor 11 years later, Guggisberg focused upon building an infrastructure that would promote growth of the economy and give Ghana a competitive advantage in the world market especially in the area of the cocoa trade.  He consequently invested resources in the building of a seaport, in the construction of extensive networks of roads and railways, in the strengthening of education, in improving the health of the people and in the advancement of the African people, through a 10—year development plan.  In 1925, he was privileged to welcome, also for the first time to the Gold Coast, an heir to the throne of Great Britain, the Prince of Wales, sharing his vision for this colony.

In retrospect, as the country developed economically, the focus of government power gradually shifted from the hands of the Governor and his officials into those of Ghanaians.  This transition resulted from the gradual development of a strong spirit of nationalism and was to result eventually in this the first African nation to gain independence.

Major A. H. Selormey, Commissioner for Health in 1973, recalls that at a time when few Europeans would recognize the worth of the African, reducing the African to the worst of servitude, denying him the basic things of life and showing him as incapable of looking after himself, Sir Guggisberg created conditions for the African to acquire some confidence in himself.  He was considered a rare breed of colonialists who, even though essentially serving the interests of Britain, operated in such a way as to bestow benefit upon the people of the region.  Guggisberg believed that the interests of British colonialism would be better served by promoting better social services for the nationals ultimately strengthening a greater sense of loyalty to the British Crown.  Pursuing a policy, which was essentially revolutionary from most of his administrative cohorts, he created a situation that worked to the utmost benefit of the people of Ghana and West Africa.  The release of Nana Edward Prempeh Kweku Duah (Paramount Chief of Ashanti) in 1924 after 28 years of exile under the British administration exemplifies Governor Guggisberg’s love for the people and his belief in their traditional systems and their abilities.

To improve public health, Guggisberg focused on sanitation and on a pipe-borne water supply for Accra, Sekondi, Winneba and Kumasi.  The population of Ghana at that time was 2.3 million people with 44,000 people living in Accra.  Guggisberg extended medical services to other areas to provide care for the indigenous population, but concomitantly recognized the primary need for a large, modern hospital fully equipped for the care of the sick and for training of local health personnel for the health services.  The outcome of this need was the building in 1923 of the Korle-Bu Hospital then known as the Gold Coast Hospital.  The new hospital claimed to be the finest in Africa with room for 200 inpatients.  Before Guggisberg, the few hospitals in the country were located in the bigger towns having substantial European populations.  Indeed, some of these were built exclusively for European patients, and right up to the eve of Ghana’s independence were referred to as “European Hospitals.”

Korle-Bu became the “general” and model hospital for the entire nation, to which very serious cases needing skilled, specialist treatment were referred.  It brought so much relief to the sick that for many years the people expressed their appreciation in this improvised song in Ga:

“Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu Oyiwala donn”


Meaning: “Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu, Korle-Bu how grateful I am to you!”

Guggisberg envisioned that Korle-Bu Hospital would one day become a foremost medical school training young men and women as doctors in their own land, instead of going abroad.  Nearly 160 acres of land in the vicinity were subsequently secured for future expansion.  After gaining national independence in 1957, the Medical School and other health institutions would be established at the Korle-Bu site.

At the 50th anniversary of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in 1973, the Health Commissioner shared that: “It is appropriate that at this juncture we should pay tribute to those men and women through whose vision, determination and efforts these improvements in the health service have been made possible… the greatest tribute we can pay… therefore is to make Korle-Bu truly the greatest medical institution in Africa and one of the greatest in the world… It should be our aim to make anyone entering this hospital feel that he is within the confines of a unique and historic institution.  We must create a new confidence in our people that in Korle-Bu we have the finest source for the restoration of good health to our sick people.”

With the strong foundations laid by Guggisberg, 80 years later Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (now 1,300 in-patient beds) continues to expand its services with the establishment of institutions for specialist care.  These include the National Cardio Thoracic Centre built by Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng and the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as the Radiotherapy Center established by the former government.  The addition of a Dental School, a School of Public Health and a School of Allied Health Sciences expanded the resources of the hospital, while also establishing a University for Development Studies including a Medical School in the northern sector of the country.  As a teaching hospital with research culture, Korle-Bu is linked to the University of Ghana through the College of Health Sciences that comprises the Medical and Dental schools, School of Nursing, School of Allied Health Sciences, School of Public Health and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

One man’s vision and deep passion for Africa has made a lasting impact in the building of a nation.  Sir Gordon Guggisberg was, and still is, much loved by the people of Ghana and his memory is deeply cherished.  Two memorials erected in his honour by chiefs express the debt that Ghana owes to Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg.  One is located at the Joint-Provincial Council of Chiefs assembly hall at Dodowa, near Accra and a marble headstone marks the Governor’s grave at Bexhill, England.

A new vision has been birthed by fellow Canadians, igniting the passion of many worldwide. Since 2002, a group of Canadians and Ghanaians have explored opportunities to strengthen the foundation of health services in Ghana and West Africa with plans to establish an 80-bed Neuroscience Hospital Centre of Excellence at Korle-Bu Hospital delivering world-class neuroscience care.  Through the Neuroscience project, there is opportunity today for you to fulfill Governor Guggisberg’s dream of giving the people of Ghana a hope and a future.



KBNF Family Transitions

2010 brought many new members into our multinational family. We welcomed in the School of Nursing University of Benin Teaching Hospital Alumni (SONUBTHA) Association this past summer.  Wondering if there would be a few members that would like to join our foundation; we were thrilled when the President and her entire membership eagerly reached for membership forms and filled them out.

We extend our warmest appreciation to Norm Glass, who so caringly and passionately served as our Administrative Coordinator 2004 — 2010. Norm was often our frontline first impression representative, and he wholly embraced the mission work, often above and beyond the call of duty.

We also extend our gratitude to Felix Durity, Founding Director, for his vision and passionate drive to transform neurosurgery expertise and care. His investment in KBNF was strategic, enhanced our credibility and energized our efforts. His legacy lives on in our hearts and in Ghana.

Ron Goyette, Director, is taking a leave of absence from KBNF to attend to personal and business matters. His vision and expertise has been instrumental in improving our communication and financial strategies. Thank you, Ron!

We are so very grateful to the Lord for protecting Seth Ayettey’s life this past year. He has devoted his life to building the nation of Ghana and to building a strong bond with his friends in Canada and indeed, around the world. In the words of Brenda MacLeod: “when the gunman shot Seth, they shot the future of Ghana”. Thankfully, Seth is recovering and is expected to return to his national responsibilities shortly. For now, he is recovering from a fourth surgery to further improve the mobility of his leg. His request is for KBNF to help him locate an orthopaedic drill and accompanying equipment, to donate for the expert care he has received from the KBTH orthopaedic surgeon.

We are so pleased to have Sven Tapp join KBNF as our internal auditor. Sven has a background in commerce and international development and returned home to Canada after serving many years abroad in Japan. In Sven’s in-depth discussions with members of our executive, he has expressed the value of quantifying the expert volunteer work accumulated daily, weekly and monthly, consequently validating the tangible value contributed and projects delivered. Acquiring these statistics for our database is a priority.

In conclusion, 2010 was a great year of KBNF infrastructure development fully anticipating expansion across the continent and beyond. We are excited by the dreams we dare to dream and for the significant opportunities that lie ahead for us. We anticipate 2011— 2012 to be a year of significance for KBNF and for our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.

Fred Addai, Chair of Anatomy, UoG CHS recently wrote: “ . . . your encouraging words weigh a tonne in gold!  Thanks, and the Lord bless you and all the good people in the loop. Cheers, indeed because we are overcomers – created for good works prepared beforehand that we might walk in them!”

Amen! . . . Dare to Dream? You bet!


2011 President’s Message

Danny Moe, an international motivational speaker and my brother, has been profoundly impacting many lives in his KBNF Dare to Dream Academy seminars of recent months. He teaches that Mission, Vision, Passion are core values mutually and concurrently required for achieving ultimate significance in life. Mission — Everyone born is born on purpose and it’s beautiful, but we’re not only born ON purpose but FOR A purpose. To determine our purpose, it is really important to know our gifts. It is our gifts that will help confirm our purpose and vice versa. Beyond that, our gifts are so phenomenal that they are not for us to keep but are gifted to us to serve the people who need our gifts. That is what our Mission is all about. There are people who will never be what they should be in life without our gifts.

Our Vision is our seeing what is in our spirit and our heart. We can’t visualize what we have not already determined. We have to begin to see it, to visualize it — seeing the end from the beginning. The only way we can keep encouraged and make it through the problems is to see the end like we have already arrived. Whatever our dream is, when it actually happens, it will be bigger and better than what we ever dreamed. And that’s what we want. We want to live with Passion. When it comes to work, we want to WORK our passions.

These qualities emanate from our KBNF family. KBNF was established out of a need FOR a specific purpose and our mission is our project assignment. Why neuroscience?  Because that is our gifting. KBNF’s mission expanded when the concept of building a neuroscience centre of excellence for Ghana and West Africa at Korle-Bu on donated land was suggested by Provost Seth Ayettey in 2002. This was our inaugural trip and it instantly witnessed with my spirit that this was what we were to do all along. From that moment in time, we have never looked back. Challenges, some seemingly insurmountable, have come our way, but our vision for what will be on the campus of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has not wavered. In fact, it has broadened and widened, as the concept, master plan and program of a West African regional Emergency and Clinical Specialties Centre, hotel and conference centre has evolved into being by our multinational Project Management [PM] team.

Our passion for a world-class centre gripped the hearts and imaginations of our Ghanaian leaders and fully embracing it, they took their rightful role in pursuing major funding for the $450 million facility. But not only for Korle-Bu, the significance of our now mutual vision meant that another hospital center and schools at the University of Ghana College of Health Sciences site needed to be planned for and our team again had the wonderful opportunity to birth that concept. The President of Ghana broke ground on that site earlier this year. Don Jenion, KBNF Project Manager and a visionary, is recommending that a national master plan and program for all hospital developments be considered for viability, sustainability, and collaboration of resources and is offering KBNF project management support. And this is just one of our foundation objectives.

Don and his team — along with Builders without Borders — are in preplanning for the refurbishment of the current KBNF neurosurgery unit in the Surgical Block. The need is so great and the unit will continue to be used for patients once neuroscience relocates. Initially planning to repair walls, plumbing and electricity, we are now contemplating total renovations and redevelopment of the unit as a tangible example of North American standard design, efficiency, and safety. And not just the structure, but to also restore the beds, tables and equipment chairs that are in need of repair and a coat of fresh paint. The vision has gripped my heart for how it can set new standards, not just for neurosurgery but other nursing units as well. So as Don says, “we’re going for broke!” and a $300,000 fundraising campaign is beginning in earnest. Having decided on a direction, now we must find the solutions to achieve our vision. And we’re passionate about it.

With our limited budget over the years, how on earth have we been able to accomplish our many concomitant goals? The answer lies in the fact that we are rich in mission, vision and definitely passion within our membership and supremely rich in gifted human resources — you — our KBNF family. Ghana recognizes our genuineness, transparency and our altruistic desire to partner and support their infrastructure developments that will lead the continent of Africa on how to expertly deliver world-class sustainable care and demonstrate to potential investors that supporting health care developments CAN make a lasting difference.

We are only as strong as our members, and our members are passionate in their desire to advance the cause of health care in West Africa, whether in sending off a container lovingly filled with equipment and supplies to Nigeria while crossing fingers and toes and taking a leap of faith that it actually gets there . . .it does . . .  Whether establishing the very first neuro research unit for West Africa and feeling fully alive when working on these various first of a kind developments, spending mammoth hours refining contact and donor lists and uploading to new software for launching an improved communications network or planning medical missions and neuro university program development . . . I could go on and on.

Mission + Vision with Passion has lead KBNF to achieve significance, as we partner with Ghana and West Africa. Jocelyne Lapointe, Brenda MacLeod and various volunteers spent laborious hours travelling back and forth to the Diamond Delivery warehouse collecting, categorizing and packing hospital supplies and equipment, then washing beds and furniture covered in soot from the open doors, wrapping in saran and with wonderful contributions donated by Compassionate Warehouse in Victoria, filling a 40 ft container. This incredible effort was the culmination of many unsung heroes behind the scenes. We learn that “the Chief Medical Director has been so elated about the shipment . . . There was so much for everybody. I haven’t seen so much joy here in a loooong while.”

To hear it in David Udoh’s own words, sole neurosurgeon for 12 million Nigerians:

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,


That one container is making a significant impact that is a source of encouragement for the staff, the administrators, patients and families. Our dreams in action — fulfilling a mission.


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.


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.

Update from Korle-Bu Neuroscience Clubs

The 2010-2011 year was a year of progress for KBNF especially in areas of fundraising, collaboration, promotion and strategies for future success.

In summary, KBNC was able to fundraise $1500, undertake promotional activities, Neurology books donation from Dr. Riopelle, renew its website domain for the next three years, initiate a raffle project to be run in selected school and collaborated with Dickinson College Neuroscience students to raise funds and promote KBNF.


AHA Creative Strategies revised the KBNC logo to resemble that of KBNF logo. This is to continue the efforts of keeping the message and image of KBNF and KBNC on the same page and ensure consistency and uniformity.


Promotions were done in the two KBNC chapter universities: UBC and McGill University. Our collaboration with Dickinson College Neuroscience Society also yielded some promotional activities including an invitation of Dr. Lisa Cain to be guest speaker of a Neuroscience conference. We also gave a presentation of the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Project during the BRAIN SYMPHONY Cafe as part of our partnership with Brain Awareness Week. During the Independence Day in Montreal, KBNF was also promoted at the event.


Dr. Richard Riopelle, Chief of Neurology and Neurosurgery, donated about 20 neurology/neuroscience textbooks to help in the KBNF cause. This will be added to the equipment inventory and sent to Ghana Medical department with the next shipment.

Andrew Barszczyk (Web Manager) of KBNC also renewed its website domain for the next 3 years. This was renewed for $300.


KBNC plans to hold raffles in selected schools this coming academic year (September-May). Legal inquiries have been initiated by Afua Cobbina and myself to verify the extent of scope, award and duration of raffle. This raffle will be the main fundraiser that can be run by our chapters as well as our partners.


The clinical Volunteer Project was handed to two McGill Undergraduates under the directive of Nicole Wu (Co Director of Project) to draft a proposal. Work is ongoing in this regards and will be one of our main areas of focus in the coming year.


The McGill KBNC chapter, led by Hon Yang, kicked of the year by hosting an activities night and recruiting new students to facilitate their agenda for the year. A chocolate fountain and KBNF band fundraisers were hosted throughout the year. Capping the year was a date auction event, which was held on International Women’s Day.

UBC chapter, led by President Ash Shamsian, was more engaged in promotional activities this year, but really came through for KBNF when their time and energy was called upon. They helped in the packaging of equipment for shipments, brainstorming workshops and some cookie fundraising on campus.


Dickinson College is our first official partner as they have been spearheading fundraising and promotional events for KBNC. Led by Marianne Hutt, Dickinson College Neuroscience Society organized ice cream fundraisers, promotions at symposiums, selling of T-shirts and KBNF bands, and eventually inviting Dr. Lisa Cain to be the main speaker at a neuroscience symposium.

The main theme we have heard from students over and over again is they want to go to Africa. The beginning of the volunteer project was supposed to address this problem, but it has been slow in the making. As a result KBNC will make it a major emphasis in the next academic year. Our raffle project, which will initially involve only selected schools and will be our main source of fundraising, will give students that win the opportunity to go to Ghana or Nigeria and be involved in research, clinical shadowing or cultural experience. We will also move to form an advisory board of professors from various universities and set some objectives to be met. We will look to have an organized coin box program, increase our partnership with other neuroscience entities, solidify our membership and beat our fundraising total for this year.


KBNF Education and Training Update

Dr. Cain, Bernard Osei and I met for the second time with numerous individuals at the Montreal Neurological Institute on March 12th 2010, just prior to the last AGM. Opportunities for training students in research methods were identified but require self funding, while medical and or surgical residencies require payment of an administrative fee to McGill University on top of the salary, similar to UBC, making it financially prohibitive to train Ghanaians in Canada.

The most tangible KBNF educational accomplishment in the past year is the 6.5 weeks of training in Neuropathology spent at Vancouver General Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Moore and Dr. Katarina Dorovini-Zis in October and November 2010 by Dr. Richard Gyasi, Head of the Pathology Department of the University of Ghana Medical School. This was orchestrated by Dr. Durity and achieved after more than five months of delays, due to new Canadian visa requirements and new BC College of Physicians and Surgeons educational license requirements. Dr. Gyasi met his objectives, to establish new collaboration for training and research in Neuropathology between VGH and KBTH, in order to improve the services available at KBTH, especially for neurosurgery. Improved staining protocols, changes in procedures and enhancements to Pathology residency training were implemented soon after his return. This visit is to serve as a prelude for future Neuropathology training of highly selected Ghanaian pathologists for 3-6 months at VGH.

Dr. Lutterodt has been trying to assess the level of enthusiasm for the need for a Neurology training program among colleagues in Ghana, in view of the high incidence of stroke and seizure disorders and the very few neurologists currently practicing in Ghana. So far, such a training program has no implementation date from the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.

I attended the 2nd annual Conference on Surgery and Anaesthesia in Uganda, held at Vancouver General Hospital on April 2nd 2011, with Dr. John B. Sampson, president of our affiliate, DrUMM (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD). The same issues about training, education and retention of health care personnel exist in Ghana/WA and in Uganda/EA. Exchanges of visiting faculties integrated to the needs of the local curricula, Skype training sessions and partnerships between training programs associated with a reasonable career path for graduates were deemed to be ways of improving the availability of local medical and health care worker expertise.

Dr. Paul King (KBNF member) and I attended the 9th Annual African Health Care Summit of the Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation, held in Atlanta April 15-17, 2011. Its focus was on “Continuing Medical Education and Healthcare Maintenance.” Speakers included the new rector of the Ghana College of P+S, the former Dean of the School of Medical Science, Kumasi, and the chair of the Ghana Medical and Dental Council. Ghana has now made CME a requirement for medical license renewal. The GPSF will work with the Ghana College to facilitate the credentialing of North American physicians wishing to participate in training of Ghanaians in Ghana.

KBNF is participating in two upcoming educational conferences in Ghana in the next five months. First, President Marjorie Ratel will be teaching Critical Care Nursing in May in Accra, invited by DrUMM. Then, a CME conference sponsored by the Ghana College of P+S will be held in Accra on August 1-5, 2011, with the assistance of the GPSF, Africa Medical Partners and KBNF. Dr. Thomas Dakurah (KBNF-Ghana), Dr. King, Dr, Martinson Arnan (a Ghanaian neurologist currently completing his Neurology residency at Johns Hopkins) and I are making presentations in the neuroscience portion of this conference. I have been participating in the planning sessions with GPSF since January.

Further discussions with the University of Ghana will take place to facilitate more collaboration for training and student exchanges during this latter trip, as many requests from North American students for electives in Ghana are being received.