Ghana Mission Post 6 – November 2012

Marj with the past Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, and current Chariman of the National Council of Tertiary Education, Prof. Cliff Tagoe.

Saturday was spent finishing up KBNF Executive Board November minutes. Our actually quite amazing executive is from across North America and Ghana; from varied walks of life. Let’s see: neurosurgeon, neuro-anatomist, neuroradiologist, medical internist, business managers, neuroscience nurses, energy sector business owner, evangelist — inspirational speaker, human resource department head, biochemical high school teacher, hospital project manager, and university professor. All with BIG HEARTS and devoted to advancing the cause of neuroscience and health care for the people of Ghana, West Africa, and beyond — not with their own agendas, only to help others.

Danny is spending quality time, day after day, working with West Africans, via the Internet and Skype, teaching Heart Power and Dare to Dream: Dare to Do! It is having a transformational effect on these precious citizens. Initially holding academy workshops weekly, many will not accept this and are determined to have daily meetings. So Danny is giving his time freely to build principles and support the people in their dreams.

If anyone in North America would also like to join Danny’s seminars, just go to http://www.jerichoroadinn.org  or email Danny. He would love to hear from each one of you. He tells me that few people have identified their life goals. Fewer have written down their life goals. Fewer have specifically addressed their goals in tangible ways. Many have dreams, but few plan how to achieve those dreams. We’re talking less than 1% of the world, folks! We all need Danny’s dynamic teaching.

Sunday morning, Hannah Ayettey and I noticed a large convoy of police in the vicinity of the Anatomy Department. We learned that the former Vice President, Mr. Alhaji Aliu Mahama’s body was being taken home to Tamale. The country grieves at the recent passing of two great statesmen, Mr. Mahama and Prof. Mills. They ask on national TV how Ghana will grow when men that are committed to this country are not around to share their knowledge and principles.

Once again, my Sunday included me teaching Sunday School. The children and I organized the chairs into a circle and sang many songs, both known and a couple taught. I have been teaching them that when Joseph, son of Jacob, and Daniel, Shadrach, Meshah, and Abendego, were challenged by life’s curve balls  they were never alone, for the Lord was with them. They stayed focused knowing that God was the scriptwriter and director of their lives, not people. I’m trusting that these children will forever remember that truth in their lives.

Sunday afternoon was spent celebrating a dearly cherished Ghanaian woman’s 70th birthday. She had been responsible for feeding young men at a school for 36 years. Held on the Accra military compound, it was chaired and blessed by Rev. Prof. Seth Ayettey. Many were in attendance and cars were parked like sardines in any nook and cranny that could be found, blocking anyone’s dream of exiting before the last to arrive were the first to depart. Unfortunately, someone decided that the airport runway would be as good a place as any. The MC then informed the guests that the car would have to be moved as a plane could not taxi down the runway! After three announcements, I noticed a plane lifting off, so eventually all was well! The dinner was exceptional and everyone was made to feel so welcome.

On Monday, I met Prof. Cliff Tagoe, past Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, at his Deptartment of Anatomy office. Cliff informs me that he is kept very busy internationally, investing quality time in Nigeria and beyond. Cliff has been appointed Chairman of the National Council for Tertiary Education. He recently attended the inaugural celebrations of the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Fred Binka, to the newest Ghanaian public institution for Health and Allied Sciences, Ho University. Profs. Aaron Lawson, Provost, CHS, and Seth Ayettey, former Provost, also attended. The special guest was the VP of Ghana, HE Kwesi Amissah-Arthur. Jocelyne was a member of the search committee when the VC position was being established.

Click here to see additional images from the mission.


Volunteer and Promotions Committee Report

Raising awareness of our mission, vision and objectives has been a key element of our past year’s focus. I visited the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington, DC, and was graciously received, meeting for several hours with the Ghanaian Ambassador, HE Daniel Ohene Ageykum, and members of his staff. From these discussions, a commitment was procured for support with project development. Expectations include arranging a meeting with the Gates Foundation, pursuing funding for our biomedical engineering program as well as a KBTH neurosurgery unit refurbishment.

Much attention has been placed in recent months on Liberia. As a result, I met with the Liberian Ambassador, HE Mr. William Bull, Sr., and much discussion developed regarding the advancement of education and health care for their recovering nation. An invitation to visit Canada on an official visit has been extended to the President of Liberia, and it is anticipated that the KBNF mission team will meet her in person in June 2012. Our proposal for supporting a visit would involve our raising corporate and private support to train four Liberian medical students in Africa, two in neurology and two in pediatrics.

Danny Moe’s Academy workshops have served to encourage and inspire those who have attended. As a result of these weekly and monthly workshops, we are planning to take them across the North American continent over the next few months. Churches, Ghana associations, embassies, schools, or homes, we are arranging KBNF representatives in various cities to organize events. We believe that as we give a gift to our communities and members, we will be blessed in return.

Newsletters to our donors have been occasional at best. This is an area of opportunity that we are targeting for improvement in 2012. The arrival of Christina Chiu, Executive Assistant, has improved communication and the quality and frequency of circulated news already. The master list continues to require updates and a fundraising software program will soon be online for our foundation to rise to a new level of expertise.

Engaging our volunteers and those that are eager to help within their communities, whether schools, clubs, or churches long term, we are pursuing several avenues to promote KBNF and project work. We recognize that every volunteer needs a participatory role; otherwise they will soon lose viable interest and move on where they feel needed. So brainstorming has provided some genuinely creative ideas.

One fundraiser this year will involve establishing and marketing a greeting card specialty program, designed by our volunteers. Fact finding has revealed that quality African focused sympathy, birthday, Christmas, and inspirational cards are not available — anywhere. Consequently, volunteers are offering to provide lovely pictures, poetry, and inspirational verses, for these cards. We will market them through the schools, through stores and in our communities.

Another fundraiser being considered is a corian cutting board fundraiser. A fact finding investigation has revealed that this is considered a very unique item for sale. Being impermeable to bacteria and a solid long-lasting cutting board, we would engrave Ghanaian symbols and sayings on them. Ghanaians are currently providing networking contacts and ideas for these boards.

A third fundraising event would be a “Walk for the Bu.” Spearheaded by Brenda MacLeod, this would encourage all supporters across the continent to conduct the fundraising walk on the same day and at the same time.

Chart documentation is a passion of ours. We are creating an expert chart documentation system that can contribute to order and length of hospital stay, save costs and lives, and it can arise out of Africa. Research, led by Lisa Cain, is an integral part of this program. This program will be provided free of charge for all Sub-Saharan hospitals. Included are consent forms, standardized care plans, doctors’ orders, checklists and clinical pathways. Our chart committee of nurses and doctors arise internationally from Canada, America, Ghana and Nigeria.

We are encouraged by the faithful support of our members and sponsors — principally you! Without your support, we could not achieve our objectives. With your support, we have been able to achieve a considerable proportion. With much needed additional support, we can transform the West African world!

A physician at a recent conference commented that previously, our objectives seemed like a dream; however now, they have taken on reality. We believe that greater support will be evident in the months ahead, as we continue to reach out with West Africa and partner in transformative developments.