Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) is a Canadian charity with a vision to strengthen health
Equipping West Africa
The governments of West Africa are severely under resourced and the result is severe shortages of critical medical supplies and equipment in their hospitals. For example, in Liberia (Population: 4.5 Million) the total health care budget is $62 Million USD. In BC, we spent $437 Million last year just on our ambulance service. KBNF, has been blessed with donations of equipment and supplies that our health care system is discarding, but is still completely useable in West Africa. Since June last year, Westsiders have helped sort, pack, and load 6 containers of equipment and supplies (including an ambulance) to be sent to hospitals in West Africa.
KBNF partners with international health organizations including the G4 Alliance and Johns Hopkins University on research projects to improve health care delivery and outcomes.
Each year KBNF sends multiple medical missions teams to West Africa to support local medical and support staff to conduct complex surgery. These teams are cross disciplinary and include members with skills in all areas of neuroscience care including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, occupational therapists, biomedical engineers, contractors, and other trades required to paint the infrastructure of the hospital. Currently, medical missions are focused on supporting Dr. Alvin Nah Doe in Tappita, Liberia. Alvin is 36 years old and is the country's primary neurosurgeon. KBNF's medical missions will bring in experienced North American surgeons to help Alvin with the most complicated cases and improve his skills. Alvin has a bright future and KBNF is committed to developing a regional neuro health centre in Tappita to serve Liberia and the surrounding countries.
Core to KBNF's mission is helping West African doctors and nurses learn best practices to develop their skills. Each trip KBNF team members help transfer knowledge to West Africans to improve the delivery of health care. In their most recent trip, former Westside Kristina Faulkner, taught sessions on how to properly move a patient with a spine injury to nurses a Liberia's largest hospital and to the paramedics in Liberia's newly launched Emergency Medical Service (with the KBNF supplied ambulance as the lead vehicle). In addition, core to all Education efforts is KBNF's Heart Power class. This is a Bible based class that teaches those in the health care system "compassion in action" and how to care for the whole person. A key goal of KBNF in 2019 is to develop a specialization training program for nurses in Liberia.
How can Westsiders get involved?
Community Groups and individuals can help sort, inventory, pack, and load donations in containers bound for West Africa at what we call "Barn Days". Medical professionals are invaluable in helping to sort the medical donations, but those of us without a great knowledge of the medical field can help prepare the larger items and non-medical items for shipment. As well, we can work in small teams under the supervision of a nurse or doctor to sort the medical supplies. Donations are coming in a rapid pace and need to be processed quickly, so we can send more containers. Additionally, those with organizational skills that can help build an inventory system to that will allow us to transfer complete inventories to those receiving the goods in West Africa are needed.
Come on a medical mission. If you are a medical professional or skilled in construction trade your knowledge and skills are invaluable to helping improve health care delivery in West Africa. The natural environment is tough alternating between scorching heat and endless rain, building right and maintaining infrastructure is critical to delivering safe, quality health care.
Since 2001 KBNF has a been a volunteered driven organization, primarily with key founder and president volunteering all of her non-working time to grow the organization. However, the opportunities that Lord opened for KBNF in the last year has made this model unsustainable. KBNF needs champions who will commit to supporting operational costs including the need for some full time staff and a new office location. For the past 4 years KBNF has enjoyed the use of over 20,000 SF of barn space to process donations for free. However, this is ending with the sale of the property and KBNF needs to find new space in Metro Vancouver to continue to receive and send donations.