Clothing Drive Supports the Ebola Response

See the Poster Here

Did you know that the sweater you got last Christmas but have never worn could save a life? Shoes you’ve forgotten you had? How about those clothes your children have grown out of? The Ebola epidemic has hit West Africa to its very core. The health care system, fragile at best, is in shambles. People are dying from preventable diseases because they cannot access the most basic health care. Doctors, nurses, health care workers are dying. Citizens are fearful they or their families may be next. Liberia and the international community are banding together to beat this epidemic. New cases are declining at a rapid rate in Liberia. In response to the medical system crisis in Liberia, Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation has risen to the task of locating and shipping 1,000 hospitals beds, equipment and supplies for their patients now and for their future use in national hospitals. These beds will be in use long after Ebola has met its end. The Rick and Sue Foundation is sponsoring a clothing drive to fund this cause. Collection sites are being provided throughout the city. The first of the drives begins December 8th.

Bring your clothing December 8 – 15th to:

 Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam

 Hastings Race Course

 River Rock Casino in Richmond

 Edgewater Casino on Pacific Blvd in downtown Vancouver

A truck will be parked in the lots to receive clothing 9 – 6 daily. Address any questions to marj@kbnf.org or call 1.877.468.6380. Thank you so very much for your support at this time. It is bringing loving care and hope to a nation.

Love,

Marj


Vancouver Island Health Authority Helps Out

 

The Vancouver Island Health Authority has generously contributed 80 beds to our goal!  It’s really encouraging to see the generosity of those who have come alongside us!

Some of the 80 beds the Vancouver Island Health Authority provided for  the fight against Ebola in Liberia

Some of the 80 beds the Vancouver Island Health Authority provided for the fight against Ebola in Liberia.

Some of the bed pads to go with the frames.

Some of the bed pads to go with the frames.

Korle Bu Family and Friends helping load a container for shipment.

Korle Bu Family and Friends helping load a container for shipment.


EBOLA CRISIS RESPONSE

As the Ebola crisis unfolds, much as we would like, we do not have human resources for it. However, I heard from the Information Minister that beds were desperately needed. 1,000 of them.

We have sent well over 2,000 beds to West Africa in the past 14 years. However, to find 1,000 beds would certainly be a challenge, maybe even a miracle but I figured that we could tackle this request as well as provide hospital linen and supplies. So we are pursuing across the country. As well, we are hoping to find a way to airlift them; they need them now, not in 3 months time. However we are ready to begin shipping immediately.

One of our corporate sponsors, Rick Diamond, of Diamond Group of Companies, told me the other day that he thought he was crazy, but after my email sharing my plan to send 1,000 beds to Liberia, he figured I was crazier!!! Diamond Delivery will help us get these beds and supplies to a loading site. Our first 13 skids of linen are soon ready to go. Beds are available from Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Kamloops and Saskatoon. We have located 40 cruise line lounge chairs that can be bleached. I figure why not? It gets patients off the ground.

Seaspan is generously waiving all of their barge fees, cutting the cost of shipping these desperately needed supplies I am in touch with Mark Warawa and Rich Coleman’s offices and we are very grateful for their ongoing support.

We need your support. Right now. We’re ready to ship three containers as soon as funding is available.

Love,

Marj


BBQing for Korle Bu

Group Photo!

Three new friends

A group of young men with disabilities from Walnut Grove in Langley, B.C., learned of the foundation and the work being done for those that without KBNF intervention had no hope. Stephen, Jared and Vernon arranged a barbeque fundraiser Sept 29th. Marj Ratel, KBNF President, and Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, KBNF Secretary, joined with the enthusiastic members and their families and friends. $515 was raised.

The directors of KBNF want to express their most sincere appreciation for holding this event in support of our efforts in Liberia. The funds generously contributed by your friends and tenants will be used to help defray the cost of the next shipment of medical equipment and supplies to be sent to the Jackson Doe Memorial Referral Hospital, in Tapitta, Liberia this fall. These funds will be used in conjunction with the fundraising results of the 5km Walk-for-the-Bu, being held on Saturday Oct 4th at Bear Creek Park in Surrey at 10am.

We were very impressed by the generosity of the people afflicted with central nervous system conditions who can relate to similarly suffering individuals an ocean and continent away and how they have chosen to contribute their hard earned savings to our endeavours.

Marj and Jocelyne


Ebola Update from Dr. Francis Kateh

My Sisters and brothers,

 

Thanks for all that you are doing to help in bringing relief to us.  I am internally grateful to you and the foundation for all of the exposures and the gathering of resources. 

 

From my end, upon my arrival in Liberia, I was asked by the Minister of Health to serve as Technical Assistant to Margibi County. 29 staff of the Renine Hospital in Kakata got infected with Ebola, 22 lost of their lives hence leaving the healthcare system in the County completely demoralized.  Praise be to God that they are gradually picking up the broken pieces and melding it together. Hence for one month plus I was there helping them to build the Healthcare system.

 

Last weekend, I was asked by the Minister again after consultation with the President to serve as Deputy National Incident Manager with responsibilities over all medical interventions of the Response. Hence I am now in Monrovia.

 

With regards to Jackson F. Doe Hospital, I am still the Medical Director/CEO hence continue to monitor the situation at the Hospital.  All is stable there except few cases of individuals running from other areas of the Country and going to other places that are arrested and taken to our Isolation Unit.  As it stands, we have not had a single case in the entire Tappita District.  We give God the glory.

 

Again, thanks for all you do and my regards to Dell and her able team of dedicated workers.

 

Francis 


Francis N. Kateh, MD, MHA, MPS/HSL

Medical Director/CEO

Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional Referral Hospital

Tappita City, Lower Nimba County


KBNF Liberian Ebola Update

KBNF had the pleasure of Dr. Francis Kateh, Chief Administrator of Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, Liberia visiting British Columbia this past July. Francis met with KBNF as well as travelled to Vancouver Island and met with the Compassionate Warehouse, our shipping partner. An informative YouTube presentation KBNF Liberian Ebola Update has been prepared in response to the developing crisis. Watch for additional YouTube presentations as they are being made available.

 

KBNF Liberian Ebola Update

 

KBNF Board of Directors have decided that mission travel to West Africa this fall will be deferred to 2015, while we focus our energies the remainder of 2014 on project work from North America. While our first container shipment to Tappita, Liberia just arrived, we are ready to ship another container of hospital equipment and supplies including gloves and masks to Liberia. However, funding of this container needs your support.

EBOLA CRISIS UNFOLDING

Ebola Crisis Unfolding  

 

 

 

 

 

 

KBNF IN LIBERIA

Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation conducted our first brain and spine surgery mission in Liberia this past May. The Ebola Crisis was beginning to raise the attention of our team and families and the international community at that time. BBC, CNN and other world networks were describing reports of tracking of the Ebola virus from Guinea to Monrovia and Sierra Leone. While in Monrovia, we became aware of a suspected patient being investigated for Ebola at their national hospital’s emergency department. There were no reported cases in Nimba State, our next destination.

 

 

DR FRANCIS KATEH

 Dr. Francis Kateh, the Chief Administrator of the Jackson F. Doe Hospital and our mission host, has a background in Disaster Preparedness. He kept the team informed of this      unfolding Ebola situation. At that time, all effort had been made to ensure our safety and it was felt that the surgical mission could proceed. Consequently, our mission served the people of Liberia for 2 weeks, providing brain and spine intervention to men, women and children.

 

EDUCATION IS KEY

The first members of our multinational neurosurgery team travelled from Monrovia to Tappita, in the eastern region of the country by helicopter the following day. The remainder of our 16 member team arrived within hours to days by an 8 hour road trip.

The first mission task was lead by Dr. John Sampson, President of DrUMM, KBNF American Affiliate from Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, who was eagerly awaiting our arrival. The priority was and is education. Knowledge is power, knowledge is life saving! One of our respiratory therapists accompanied John out to the nearby village to hand out pictorial pamphlets warning of the deadly Ebola virus to a very eager crowd.

 

Quickly, the pamphlets were all distributed. Descriptions of the ominous hazards of eating bush meat were provided along with instructions appealing to these villagers to not eat these potentially infected meats. (West Africans explained to our team that bush meat for the villagers, such as rats, bats and monkeys provide much needed protein in their diet and can be very tasty. Beef, chicken and lamb are not readily available or are not affordable.)

 

The villagers were to inform the Jackson Doe Hospital if any member of their family or community demonstrated symptoms of gastrointestinal distress or bleeding. If the individual died at home, they were instructed to notify the hospital for the isolation, retrieval and disposal of the body. Prevention, pro-action, intervention, all effort was being made to protect the community and the hospital.

 

The power of the internet was certainly felt as misinformation went viral over facebook, etc. Rumors that Ebola had struck in Tappita put fear into the hearts of relatives abroad, especially for those nationals who are serving on the frontlines. Thankfully, when the internet and phone service was available, reassurance could be given.

 

ISOLATION UNIT UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Educating the staff and keeping everyone informed was and is of equal importance. Anyone arriving at the hospital gates seeking medical attention are questioned by trained security officers. If there were any concerns, the individual was escorted to a secluded makeshift isolation unit on the outside perimeter of the hospital compound where protected staff investigated the cause of the patient’s symptoms. Thankfully, no patients admitted to Jackson Doe Hospital have tested positive for the Ebola virus.

 

During our 2 week surgery mission, a permanent 8 room isolation unit was being constructed and is now completed. Educating the public and hospital staff continues to be an ongoing priority. Protective gear, including quality masks, gloves, gowns, are required for all of the team. Efforts are in progress to ensure quality protective gear is available for all frontline staff.

 

 

 

CROSSING BORDERS

The mission team visited the Liberian / Guinea border crossing and met with the Commissioner, the border patrol and staff (Title photo above). Boxes of disposable gloves donated by members of our mission team were gratefully received.

The spread of the Ebola virus is so virulent, as extensive travel conducted by villagers, the public at large and international community creates a near impossible ability to effectively contain this virus geographically. Consequently, the potential death toll is estimated may rise as high as 20,000 with the global community at very real risk. Leading West African physicians, scarce already, are being snatched away by this deadly virus, leaving a gaping hole in an already seriously compromised West African health care service.

CURRENT ACTIONS

At this juncture, we understand that no elective surgery is being conducted nationally in Liberia. Patients awaiting surgery will be left indefinitely while this viral epidemic is battled. Consequently, surgery missions are curtailed at this present time. You can imagine how elective surgery quickly can evolve to emergent surgeries. These dear people and the nation and region at large are challenged left, right and centre.

Samaritan’s Purse, whom we had the privilege of meeting in Monrovia, have been pulling out all the stops to help care for the afflicted. Many watched the international news as they rescued and recovered one of their own American physicians, Dr. Kent Brantley.

The Ghanaian Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America are requesting member support in helping aid the Ebola patients and caregivers. Physicians are accepting the urgent call to give of their time and expertise on the frontline. Ghana Physicians Website

We pray for wisdom and strength for Liberian President Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, Francis Kateh and all the President’s team, and for all of our West African national and medical leadership as well as our world leaders, as they work feverishly to get this devastating situation under control and resolved; and for the caregivers that risk their lives daily, as they care for these infected patients in a resource limited environment.

In spite of these very difficult and harrowing times, many champions are rising up and being revealed. KBNF honors and applauds all those that are giving their lives and expertise in finding solutions to this epidemic and saving precious lives.

 

Marj Ratel, President


Update from Marj

Dear family and friends,

I sit at my desk reflecting on what has been accomplished in 2013 and what an amazing year 2014 is turning out to be! Our foundation is rich, truly rich in devoted, compassionate members and partners, committed to ensuring that our investments are raising the bar on the West African health care landscape while meeting urgent medical needs of their citizens and families.

Here’s just one recent story that should resonate with you all, encouraging you that your support is being well invested with long term implications:

A young Liberian university student walked into Dr. Francis Kateh’s office. Dr. Kateh is the Chief Administrator of the Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba State, Liberia. Erica had a brain tumor. Her heart renching question caught at his heart strings. “Why do I have to die just because I am Liberian?”

Dr. Kateh heard her desperate cry and with Dr. John Sampson, KBNF’s American affiliate, interceding, KBNF’s multinational team arrived in Tappita in late March for their first neurosurgery and spine mission.

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Our first elective surgery case, Erica, now a new mom, handed over her darling 2 week old newborn to her mother and courageously entered the operating room, fully cognizant that the mortal risk for this surgery was very high and she could die. But she was fighting for her life and ultimately for that of her nation. It was worth the risk.

After a very extensive surgery conducted by KBNF neurosurgeons Paul King (America) and David Udoh (Nigeria), Erica was stabilized on a ventilator and kept unconscious for the next 24 hours. She was mobilized within another day and independently walking the hallway the subsequent day, hands raised in thanksgiving to God to an audience of dozens cheering her on in the visitor’s lounge.

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Because of one young lady’s fervent desire for life and a willingness to fight for it, many more Liberians are now enjoying renewed life to the full. 18 surgeries were conducted. Many more are awaiting our return. Can you wonder why we are so very passionate? Erica has now returned home to raise her newborn baby girl.

Dear friends, we’re pulling out all the stops here! In Ghana, Liberia and West Africa. A neuro rehab facility is being pursued, especially considering the epidemic proportions of stroke occurring daily in Africa. This is our opportune moment, here and now. Your donations, large or small, are enabling us to reach above and beyond our borders.

Stay tuned. More exciting news is on its way in the days ahead.

IMG_0556.JPG

Marj Ratel
President


Annual Walk for the Bu!

Hi everybody! Holly here on Marj’s behalf. It’s that time of year again! Time to put on your sneakers and walk, or wheel, to help raise funds for Korle Bu! This a great event to invite all your friends and family!

When: October 4th, 2014. Registration starts at 10am and the walk starts at 11am with a BBQ lunch to follow.

Where: Bear Creek Park, Surrey BC (88th and King George Blvd), or wherever your neighbourhood is.

Individual registration is $10 and families are $25. This includes the BBQ lunch. If $100 or more in pledges are collected you will be eligible to win a prize!

Proud Sponsors include Diamond Delivery in Surrey and Charlie’s Marketplace IGA in Langley.

Attached in the link below is the pledge form for participants.

WALKER PLEDGE FORM 2014

Holly