Website Overhaul!

You may notice the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation website is being revamped. We’re working the skin off our fingers to get this overhaul done in a goodly amount of time, thanks to the Communication Committee and the girls at Vraeyda Media.

And yes, sideways pictures will be straightened! With a ruler! And a level! And a prayer.

Thanks everyone!

KBNF Communication Monkies.

Container Shipment #3 arrived in Tappita!

KBNF friends and family, container #3 has been unloaded, safe and sound, in Liberia!
Our “love in a can” project of a 1,000 beds, medical supplies and equipment is well on its way to realization, as more and more donations continue to come in from across the country.
We loaded container #6 last week in Victoria and an Alberta couple drove out from Red Deer with a truck packed with hospital supplies from their local hospital. There they were, loading a container on their vacation. Healing is oozing out of these containers. It has too! So much love is being packed into it. Hospital staff, administrators, biomedical engineers, hotel and linen industry, delivery services, churches, on and on, I could go. Retirees (totally NOT retired from active duty!) join together week after week, day after day, preparing shipments for humanity.
As container #3 was unloaded, I received a phone call from Dr. Francis Kateh, Deputy Minister of Health and Dr. Ben Kolee, CMO, Jackson F. Doe Hospital, expressing their excitement as they were unloading our container. It brings such enthusiasm to all of our teams to know how much these contents are bringing hope and help.IMG_1131

Thanks Marj; my staff is very enthusiastic and grateful. We feel so blessed to have you in this partnership. This is one reason Jackson Doe Memorial Hospital continues to provide quality medical care in a huge ocean of broken health infrastructure; we are very grateful to you all.

Warm regards,

Sincerely yours.

Dr. Ben Kolee
Chief Medical Officer


Dr. Francis Kateh, KBNF Partner, Appointed Deputy Minister of Health & Chief Medical Officer of Liberia


President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has appointed Dr. Francis Kateh Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer for Liberia.

MONROVIA 4.10.14 004Join KBNF as we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Francis Kateh, as he has accepted the position of Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer for Liberia. Not a position for the faint at heart, especially in the aftermath of the nationally grave Ebola crisis, Francis has a unique opportunity to have a key leadership role in rebuilding the entire Liberian health care system.
Francis deeply cares for his people. Heart Power! at its finest. Dr. Kolee writes: “We are very elated by this and hope that he will exert leadership that will affect the entire country.”
TAPPITA 8.4.14 063As the Ebola crisis winds down, the established community centres are expected to remain open to support patient care. Dr. Kateh reports that he is earmarking which clinics and hospitals around the country will receive KBNF containers filled to the gills with donated hospital beds, equipment and medical supplies. He believes that these containers will transform these vulnerable centres and bring hope and healing to a hurting nation.
His gratitude is palpable. He is anxious to return to Canada and share the stories and photos of the impact our container shipments are making in Liberia. We’ll keep you posted.


Ontario in Action: KBNF Makes History

ONTARIO BEDS.5On April 15th, 50 beds were loaded in Burlington, Ontario, home of the Crossroads Communications warehouse. Another 100 beds are awaiting transport as soon as KBNF has the shipping funds. These beds were donated by Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto General Hospital.
CROSSROADS COMMUNICATIONS APRIL 15, 2015Canadians across the land have risen to the charge of supporting Liberia in their grave time of need. Dell Wergeland, President of Compassionate Resource Warehouse, worked with David Shelley’s warehouse volunteers, men that have left their busy farms for a few precious hours, to get these 400 pound beds loaded.
ONTARIO BEDS.3Donations received and shipped from Ontario is a first for KBNF. Avi D’Souza of Not Just Tourists – Toronto Chapter took this desperate need to heart and took action. Receiving the support of the University Health Network meant quality donations will be in full use for many many years to come, in the heart of Africa.
And much appreciation goes to 100 Huntley St. for their generous support in housing these beds and providing the volunteers, several farmers that left their chores during their busy farming season to manually load these beds. THAT is a miracle!


A note from Francis Kateh: March 18

Liberia has gone 26 days without a single new case. Jackson F. Doe Hospital has been the only hospital that has not shut its doors during the entire crisis. The hospital is fully functional and the need for the supplies on the containers can’t be over emphasized. I am in Ganta doing border surveillance training to help in maintaining Zero in the country. . . . Thanks a million.

Brief Report from Dr. Kateh

The first container to Liberia was received at Jackson F. Doe Referral Hospital in Tappita, Liberia after their rainy season. During the rainy season, the trucking route to Tappita from the port in Monrovia was washed out in places and not able to support heavy truck traffic. Consequently, there was a delay in receiving the container’s contents. Jackson F. Doe Hospital, a 250 bed facility, is the major referral hospital for Liberia. It houses the only CT scanner in the country as well as other imaging services not available elsewhere. Consequently, in spite of the fact that it is 6 – 7 hours east of Monrovia by vehicle in the eastern rural district, it is their leading centre. They also accommodate a 6 bed Ebola unit on the outer perimeter of their hospital.

Dr. Francis Kateh, CEO of Jackson F. Doe Hospital, states that the donated “beds have changed the total outlook of the hospital.” They have transformed the character of the hospital. He explains that the replaced beds were improvised structures, not suitable for patient care. They were making do with what they have been given, very inadequate bed frames. A comprehensive report and photos will be provided shortly. Hospital supplies and furnishings are being distributed. The hospitalized children have been so very excited as they receive clothing and toys and the soccer balls and equipment and jerseys are being distributed to the local schools in the adjacent district.

Dr. Francis Kateh is leading the Ebola crisis medical intervention program for Liberia since being appointed by the President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, last August. He reports that during his extensive travels throughout Liberia and Liberia’s health care facilities over the past 8 months, he has had the opportunity to visit and evaluate every hospital, community clinic and Ebola treatment centre. He describes how these facilities are in heartbreaking condition, while depression with hopelessness and helplessness amongst the patients, their families and staff, is evident at the helm. Patients are lying, at best, on iron frames with or without mattresses or lying on carpets on the floor. Resources are scant at best.

The 2nd and 3rd containers are to be released from port in Monrovia next week as final paperwork is now complete. As the Ebola crisis winds down, the established community centres are expected to remain open to support patient care. Dr. Kateh reports that he is earmarking which clinics and hospitals around the country will receive KBNF / Compassionate Resource Warehouse hospital beds. One hospital already confirmed is James Davis Hospital, a maternity hospital in Monrovia, dearly in need.
Dr. Kateh believes that these beds arriving and yet to be shipped will transform these vulnerable centres and bring hope and healing to a hurting nation. His gratitude is palpable. He is anxious to return to Canada and share the stories and photos of the impact our container shipments are making in Liberia.

Dr. Kateh

A Letter from Jackson F. Doe Hospital, Dr. Kolee

Dear Marj:

The shipment has had a huge positive impact on the Ebola
response in Tappita in particular and Liberia. You will recollect that
when Ebola struck in March, KBNF was in Liberia on a surgical mission.
With the help of Dr. John Sampson and some of your staff we
put together the first ever Ebola related lecture in Liberia and
started community mobilization and the construction of the first ever
Ebola Isolation in Liberia.

When the epidemic resurfaced in Monrovia, (the first time an Ebola
Epidemic occurred in a city), the poor healthcare infrastructure in
Monrovia/Liberia crumbled leading to closure of all hospitals around
the country leaving Jackson Doe Hospital as the only haven for persons
seeking care.

Consequently, Jackson Doe Memorial Hospital became inundated with
patients from all over the country. This led to a serious shortage of
bed space. The arrival of your container was God sent and very timely
as it occurred during the period of great need for us. The quantity of beds
did not just increase at the hospital but the quality of beds became better.
Almost all the beds that we had at the Hospital prior to your donation
lack side rail. This meant that patient relatives sat by their sick relatives
all day and night to prevent them from falling. In the midst of the Ebola Epidemic,
this was very dangerous as no one should touch another person
(health workers who did touch patient wore light or heavy PPE
depending on the risk level of the patient); even hand-shake and
hugging are currently not permitted in Liberia. In fact, even
surgeries are done wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

The donated beddings have also being very helpful because soil linens
sometimes get incinerated if they were thought to pose risk to our
cleaners and laundry staff.

Even the clothes that came in as “load stabilizers” were given to
discharged patients whose clothes got burnt because they were thought
to be infectious at admission.

The overall impact of your donation on our response to this ongoing
Ebola Epidemic has being enormous. To date we are the only Hospital in
Liberia that never shut down while at the same time maintaining zero
infection among all level of workers at the Hospital. We will forever
remain grateful.

Warm regards,

Dr. Benedict B. Kolee
For Dr. Francis N. Kateh

A Young girl on one of our beds

An amputee patient

With Love from Canada

PALLIATIVE CARE – New capacity added to KBNF

At the December Directors Retreat the Share the Care (STC) Palliative Care Project formally became a part of the KBNF family.  The Share the Care Committee was warmly welcomed and their 2014-17 Plan of Action ratified by a unanimous vote from the Directors.

The STC Committee has been in operation since 2010 and has had an informal connection with KBNF since its inception.  Marj Ratel and Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe have been valued mentors as the project “got off the ground”.  STC started with a small group of volunteers who also were involved with Crossroads Hospice Society/Inlet Center Hospice in the Vancouver area.  The members are largely active and retired health care professionals.  The project developed out of an awareness of the desperate disparity between the availability of palliative care awareness, education and services between the Canadian situation and that in many other countries around the world.  The practise of palliative care in Canada is around 50 years old, within the practise experience of a number of the project members.  The committee felt that even a small group could make a difference in leveling the inequities by sharing our experience in practise, education and program development.  After considerable research they were able to make connections with health care professionals in Ghana, West Africa.  At that point there was only one physician, Dr. Mawuli Gyakobo, with palliative care preparation practising in the country.  There was however, much wider interest in developing palliative care capacity. Thus Ghana became the initial focus of activity.

The question could be asked, why is there a link/importance in extending the vision of KBNF to include palliative care? KBNF focuses on excellence in health care.  Palliative care rounds out that excellence in the continuum of care. Palliative care comes into play when the range of available, active treatments are no longer able to provide a cure and the focus becomes symptom management, comfort care and support for patient, family and community. This need is demonstrated in the incidence of cancer, traumatic injury, stroke and many neurological diseases like A.L.S. /M.S.  It is particularly acute in African countries were the demand for care of non-communicable disease conditions is growing and people ask for health care assistance very late in their disease trajectory. Palliative care requires an excellent knowledge of disease process and symptom management, high level nursing care, psychological/social support and compassion.  Palliative care is knowledge and heart power intensive, not dollar intensive.  It does not require sophisticated equipment to be effective. It is best delivered by a multi-disciplinary team.

The objective of the STC Project is to:

Collaborate with health care professionals, relevant government ministries and institutions in Ghana and West Africa, to facilitate palliative care development through: professional/public education, sharing education/ programme resources, building capacity through consultation and help with supplies and equipment as appropriate.

To date the project has carried out two visits to Ghana, each two weeks in duration.  The first (2011) was to learn about Ghana, the health care system, make connections and do an initial needs assessment.  A relationship with the Ghana Palliative Care Association was initiated.  In 2013 a very successful four- day, “Fundamentals of Palliative Care” course, was delivered to a multi-disciplinary  audience of 60 health care professionals in Accra.  This was based on a curriculum, collaboratively developed and taught with the members of the Korle-Bu Palliative Care Team, led by Dr. Gyakobo, along with other Ghanaian professionals, interested in palliative care.  Time was also spent consulting with the KBPC team in a variety of clinical settings.

In April 2014 the project sponsored a week-long visit of Dr. Edwina Addo, who works with the KBPC team, in Vancouver.  Dr. Addo visited a number of the palliative care programs in our area in hospital, hospice and community settings.

Future plans involve requests to return to Ghana in 2014 to teach the “Fundamentals” course in several locations and to consult on the development of an advanced practice curriculum for nurse specialists in palliative care.

The development of a programme/education for community volunteer care givers is under discussion.  Opportunities to develop education exchange experiences for students and access for professionals to palliative care education/ conferences here, are sought on an ongoing basis.

During his recent visit here discussions were held with Dr. Gladstone Kessie about the need to develop services at Mount Olives Hospital in Techiman.  He visited palliative care and geriatric programmes and expressed interest in both specialities for future consideration at Mount Olives.

The STC Committee looks forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with KBNF as the palliative care focus participant.  Our goals, objectives and values mesh to add synchrony to our activities.


by Dawn McDonald