Liberia’s First Ambulance: Montreal to Vancouver

What do you get when two buddies team up KBNF, Diamond Delivery, Operation Nicaragua and Compassionate Resource Warehouse? One cold winter's drive, a yellow ambulance, and the first ambulance in Liberian history. David and Rick drove across Canada to deliver the ambulance to British Columbia, for packing and preparing for its' container shipment to Liberia.

Stay tuned for the next part of Patrick the Ambulance's travels to its' new home.

Part 2: Patrick? What's in a name. 


Nine Patients Receive Neurosurgery in Liberia

Neurosurgery in Liberia (2017)

This Spring, KBNF was in Ghana and Liberia on another ground-shaking Neurosurgery Medical Mission. Our team of 9 joined medical professionals in Accra & Techiman, Ghana and Tappita, Liberia over a month-long mission. We'll be breaking down the successes of our time over the next few weeks and wanted to start with Dr. Paul King's work in Neurosurgery.

 

Dr. King conducted neurosurgery for 9 patients in 10 days in Tappita Liberia's Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital, assisted by medical professionals from Canada, the United States, Nigeria and Liberia. He evaluated and mentored two neurosurgery residents from Liberia and Nigeria and is encouraged by the progress of these West African surgeons. Dr. King and KBNF are prepared to work closely with these progressive doctors as they develop neurosurgery in their own countries. It is wonderfully encouraging to be able to mentor and teach neurosurgery residents in West Africa, and help them as they expand service for their nations and partner with each other.  

Patients ranged from 3 weeks to 44 years old, male and female, and included surgeries from cyst & tumour removal, shunts, burrhole drainage & decompression laminectomy. This is the second series of neurosurgeries KBNF has undergone in Liberia, since 2014. KBNF continues to support the advent of Neurosurgery in Liberia by partnering with Liberia's first neurosurgeon, shipping valuable equipment and supplies, and supporting Dr. Nah Doe's skill development over the course of the years.

Dr. Laurence Sherman, Dr. Francis Kateh, Dr. Alvin Nah Doe

Image Above: (Left to Right) Dr. Laurence Sherman, Chief Administrator, Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital; Dr. Francis Kateh, Deputy Minister of Health, Liberia; Dr. Alvin Nah Doe, Liberia's first Neurosurgery Resident

Next Post: The citizens of Tappita learn Heart Power & help develop the Liberian Prosthetics Clinic.


Fall 2016 Medical Mission Nursing News

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Our Fall Mission began with the arrival of Karen Currie, RN, in Ghana on November 6th 2016. Dianne Perry, RN BSN, a recently retired Canadian nursing educator, with expertise in various specialties including surgery, obstetrics and tropical diseases, joined Karen from Europe. Dell highly recommended Dianne and KBNF was able to facilitate her Ghana Visa via Italy.

After a 2 day stay in Accra, they travelled to Techiman by air. Karen and Dianne discovered a kindred spirit. Dianne’s influence was immediate, as she commenced her day on the nursing units at 05.30 hrs. Working alongside the nurses, Dianne taught them in groups of 2s and 3s in short sprints. She was urgently called to the OR one night to help deliver a baby via C- section. Mom and baby were in crisis and it was thought that the baby would not survive. However, both mom and babe did fine, much to everyone’s relief. Triplets were born and are doing fine, coming in for regular weekly checkups. Dianne’s impact was well noted and she reports she will be pleased to return for future missions.

Hazardous nursing practises were addressed and corrected. Some of these practises we have tried to correct in the past, but were observed to have resumed. Having the by-in of various nursing leaders helped to make this transition more effective. Providing an alternative that made sense to the nurses seemed to have the desired effect. Reinforcement was necessary and will continue to be so. Another decision solidified by Dr. Kessie to enhance nursing care is that the TV perched by the nursing station would be relocated to the maternity unit. Nightshift breaks are being monitored closely and have improved.

The nursing administrators, Thomas and Robert are motivated and understand the need to advance the nursing department. They partnered closely with Karen and Dianne throughout their stay, very grateful for all the expertise. They look forward to visiting Vancouver for an educational experience.

Want to hear more of what KBNF is doing in Techiman? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for by-the-second updates!

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Update on Erica, Liberia’s Neurosurgical First

Erica’s Update: Change takes a Champion

Dear friends, in 2014 Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation went to Liberia for our first Liberian Neurosurgical Medical Mission. We went at the invitation of Dr. Francis Kateh, then the CEO of Jackson F. Doe Memorial Referral Hospital, now Deputy Minister of Health. Our team of volunteer nurses, surgeons and support staff came from Canada, America and Nigeria to give Erica the chance of a lifetime.

Because of her plea, many more Liberians were able to get the vital Neurosurgery they needed. While we were there, Ebola broke out. We soldiered on, and when we got back to Canada, KBNF asked Dr. Kateh (then in charge of Liberia's medical response to Ebola) what Liberia needed most to fight Ebola. We sent over eight containers of medical supplies, beds and support items to help sustain and rebuild Liberia's shattered health care system during, and after the Ebola Pandemic.

It began with Erica, a brave young woman who refused to die because of where she was born. Her courage and dedication to see it through has changed the face of her entire country's medical future. KBNF will continue to support Liberia, to provide education and training to neurological & neurosurgical staff, to enhance safe surgical practices and help grow health care until Liberia no longer needs the support.

Who is your Erica? Where are they from? This holiday season, give for the people like Erica, who are desperate for surgeries, which will bring them back to wholeness so they too can spend their lives improving their countries and loving their families.

Thank you.


2016 Spring Medical Mission Retrospective I:Geneva – G4 Alliance

KBNF President Marj Ratel with Arbutus Medical

KBNF President Marj Ratel with Arbutus Medical

The first leg of the Spring Mission commenced May 21st. Marj Ratel and foundation partner Dr. John Sampson (representing Johns Hopkins Medicine) attended the G4 Alliance Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Sponsored by General Electric Foundation and Safe Surgery 2030, the 3 day event was held at the Intercontinental Hotel and Conference Centre, across the street from the UN and WHO. A 5 star facility, many of the participants including us stayed in alternative more cost effective accommodation across the city. Daily accommodation costs increased significantly the closer to the annual World Health Assembly meetings. The advantage of the location and time is that meetings with country representatives from Africa and around the world are possible.

Dr. Neil Parsan & Marj Ratel

Dr. Neil Parsan & Marj Ratel

G4 Alliance

History

The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care (the ‘G4 Alliance’) was formally launched at an event in Geneva attended by government ministers, health advocates and medical specialists in May 2015. The aim of the G4 Alliance is to advocate for the neglected surgical patient, to highlight the vital role of surgical care in averting premature death and significant morbidity from maternal health issues or complications of injury, and to integrate surgical care with existing public health frameworks in a collaborative and mutually beneficial way.

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Five billion people around the world are unable to access safe, affordable surgical and anesthesia care when needed, according to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery report (publicly endorsed by KBNF when released). Out of the 313 procedures performed each year, only 6% are done for the poorest third of the world’s population. For road traffic injury victims, lack of emergency trauma care, safe surgical facilities or rehabilitation services can seriously exacerbate the impact and severity of injuries, while failure to provide care during the ‘Golden Hour’ after a crash often proves fatal. The Lancet Commission’s report argues that “surgery has proven to be a very cost-effective intervention, and failure to treat surgical conditions threatens to significantly compromise the economic productivity of countries. Widespread integration and scale-up of surgical care around the world is necessary to reach new targets for Universal Health Coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals and creation of resilient health systems.”

Marj Ratel & Executive Director Brendan Allen

Marj Ratel & Executive Director Brendan Allen

Responding to the efforts of the G4 Alliance over recent months, as well as to other advocates, health ministers at the World Health Assembly approved Resolution 68/31 on 22 May 2015 which included a call to “identify and prioritize a core set of emergency and essential surgery and anaesthesia services at the primary health care and first referral hospital level, and to develop methods & financing systems for making quality, safe, effective and affordable emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia services accessible to all who need it”.

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Stay tuned for more to come!
Marj


Nigerian Neurosurgery Unit Damaged in Fire!

Tragic news, family!

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Our dear friends in Nigeria, Neurosurgeon Dr. David Udoh, his Head Nurse Priscilla and their staff came to us with news that a fire broke out in their unit.

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Years ago, we sent a container of medical equipment and supplies to set up the Neurosurgery unit at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Our 2009 Medical Mission had us in that unit conducting surgery and helping the people of Nigeria.

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Dr. Udoh comes on all our Medical Missions, and is an integral part of the KBNF Family. We need to bring them some relief. Help us put the money together to send them a container to replace what was lost.

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Help Rebuild UBTH's Neurosurgery Ward

Help us send a shipping container of medical equipment and supplies to Dr. Udoh’s Neurosurgery Ward in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria. Dr. Udoh and his team are instrumental to KBNF’s success in West Africa. It’s time to help!


A Thank You Letter from Ghana

Dear Marj. It was a great pleasure having you, Jocelyne, Danny, Karen, Dell Peter, Denise and Dr. Paul King in Ghana for medical missions that involved also Liberia and Sierra Leone. Our friendship with you and the KBNF team deepens with each visit and we thank God for your enthusiastic and passionate leadership and for the loving and joyful sacrifices of the rest of the team - executive, volunteers and the silent ones who work behind the scenes to ensure that goods and supplies are available for shipping. As you noted at the award ceremony, nearly 30 containers have been shipped, over half of them to Ghana alone. We value each of you and your love for Ghana and West Africa. Gladstone has shared with me news of what you all did at the Mount Olives Hospital over nearly four weeks period. The training of staff, support in patient care, the performance of the first spinal surgery by Dr. Paul King sharing his surgical skills as well and the clearing of yet another container shipment of medical items are all much appreciated. In my capacity as Chair of the Board of the mount Olives Foundation also, I place on record sincere thanks of the Board. The role played by the Hesse family and Gladstone and Faustina (even though physically absent in the period of the visit) in hosting all of you is valued and acknowledged with gratitude. I also place on record teaching materials donated to Faith Presbyterian Church School and the presents for the family. All of us, including the College of Health Sciences and in particular the Board of Trustees are ever grateful for all you have done to contribute to the building of human resource for health as well as to health infrastructure. God bless you all.
Rev. Prof Seth Ayettey, Ghana

KBNF is now a Member of the G4 Alliance

It is with the utmost pride and honour that Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation announces our membership with the G4 Alliance, which is “dedicated to building political priority for surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia care as part of the global development agenda” (www.theg4alliance.org for more information).

We are thrilled to connect, and even more thrilled with our upcoming Medical Mission to Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia & Sierra Leone leaving May 2016.

Cheers, all!
Marj

Support Neurosurgery in West Africa

Regardless of geographical location & financial status, everyone worldwide should have access to medical care. Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation is determined to foster Neurosurgery in West Africa, for all who have need.