You Helped Save Richmond’s Life: Liberia’s First Spinal Fusion Surgeries
After falling from a three-story building Richmond had fractured his spine, but without adequate tools and training, Liberian healthcare workers were unable to see this and sent him home from the hospital without any intervention. After months of excruciating pain and “breaking down gradually,” Richmond was unable to walk more than a few steps and lost his job – the only means the 31-year old had to provide for his wife and newborn baby. He was desperate.
Thankfully, Richmond was connected to KBNF’s doctors, who accomplished what was unthinkable just months before. The team watched proudly as Dr. Alvin Nah Doe and Dr. Akoto, two of KBNF’s champions, performed Liberia’s first-ever Spinal Fusion surgeries in February, providing top-tier surgical care to Richmond and three other patients.
Today, as Richmond is recovering, he is walking on his own and is hopeful for the future. After the surgery, he wiped tears from his eyes and said: “My family who depends on me for survival is not going to be let down, because I am going to work again to support them. I cross my heart, this KBNF initiative is a good one.”
It’s hard to overstate the importance of these surgeries. These patients, some who have been suffering since 2013, are receiving surgical care they never thought possible.
Liberia’s First Fully-Outfitted Ambulance
You also helped KBNF make medical history outside the operating room. KBNF officially delivered Liberia’s first-ever fully outfitted ambulance in February, partnering with Liberia’s Ministry of Health to officially launch the country’s first-ever Emergency Ambulance Service!
Before this partnership, ‘ambulances’ in Liberia were nothing more than glorified taxis. Drivers would transport patients in vehicles unequipped to provide urgent medical care. But after years of hard work and strategic partnerships, the team was able to officially deliver the ambulance. They also trained hundreds of nurses and medical workers on how to properly transport patients with spinal injuries.
This work is truly transformative. With the donation of our Canadian ambulance, Liberia is now building a modern service, complete with a dispatch centre and trained paramedics. Indeed, KBNF’s ambulance was put into service just two days after it arrived.
There are not words big enough to thank Diamond Delivery for both purchasing the ambulance, driving it across BC and covering the costs to ship it overseas. We are also so very grateful to the Kelowna firefighters for donating their protective fire suites to keep the firefighters of Liberia safe. Nothing at KBNF happens without YOU, our supporters.
2018 Highlights: 34 Surgeries, Four Containers and One Zeiss Microscope
Remarkably, spinal surgeries and the ambulance services aren’t the only medical accomplishments you helped us achieve over the past few months. Last fall you helped KBNF deliver four shipping containers, packed with life-saving medical supplies, which we call ‘Hospital In A Box’. Each cost about $10,000 to ship, meaning thousands of West Africans will now have hospital beds, IV poles, operating tables and other surgical equipment for years.
To give you an example of how much this matters: KBNF doctors are now tackling brain tumors that were previously inoperable thanks to a Zeiss double headed neurosurgical microscope (which we shipped from via ship, crane, plane, jet, and truck!). Most importantly, that microscope is now a training tool enabling African doctors to develop the skills to deliver world class neurosurgery across West Africa! Indeed, in November, a 28-member neurosurgery team traveled to West Africa, joining Liberian doctors on the ground, and performed 34 life-changing surgeries. Wow.
Storage for our shipping operations has been generously donated by a local Vancouver farmer for the past four years. We are now searching for property and a warehouse to run our operations. We are also preparing to acquire a warehouse manager to take on managing donations and coordinating volunteer events. If you are able to help source a warehouse or able to take on such an extensive volunteer project please let us know!
New Growth, New Look!
You have probably also noticed KBNF’s NEW LOOK! We are just now officially launching our new logo, which portrays a visual representation of neuroscience. The outer shapes represent the brain’s left and right hemispheres, while the centre shape represents the spinal cord and central nervous system. It’s also loosely inspired by the Adinkra Symbol, which originates in Ghana and represents unity, support, and growth. We believe this new visual professionalism helps represent the quality surgical care we’re providing to those whose lives are on the line.
KBNF is currently a small volunteer-run charity making a big impact in neurosurgery in Western Africa. Please consider a monthly or one-time gift to help us not only continue, but to grow and to sustainably build and support neurosurgery within the places that desperately need it most.