Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) started over 20 years ago. Thomas Dakurah was the first Ghanaian to graduate from the Neurosurgery Training Program at the Korle Bu teaching hospital in Accra, Ghana. Despite growing up in an impoverished area of the country, Thomas successfully graduated and landed a one-year prestigious fellowship at UBC. There he met Majorie Ratel, a neurosurgery nurse with a heart for those in need. She responded to Thomas' invitation to come to Ghana and train nurses. And from there, KBNF was born.
Westside has partnered with KBNF locally, globally, and financially. In the past, Westsiders have helped sort, pack, and load six containers of equipment and supplies (including an ambulance) to be sent to hospitals in West Africa. Gospel Community Groups have participated in "Barn Days," which helps prepare shipping containers full of medical supplies to be sent to West Africa.
Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation
KBNF is a Canadian charity with a vision to strengthen health care systems in West Africa, with a special emphasis on brain and spine diseases and injuries. You can learn more about KBNF here.
The four pillars to KBNF's work are:
- Medical Missions
The governments of West Africa are severely under resourced, resulting in 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.
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 help local medical and support staff 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.
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 past trips, sessions on how to properly move a patient with a spine injury were taught to nurses at Liberia's largest hospital. Further education was given to the paramedics in Liberia's newly launched Emergency Medical Service, with the KBNF-supplied ambulance as the lead vehicle.
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.
Members of Westside have also participated in medical mission trips to West Africa with KBNF. If you are a medical professional or skilled in a construction trade, consider joining a medical mission. Learn more here.
KBNF relies on the generation giving from donors to make their work possible. If you want to financially partner with KBNF, consider giving. More information and the online donation link is available here.