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First brain surgery performed at Tappita Hospital

A 16-member team of medical specialists from the Canadian based Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) has successfully conducted brain, back and other critical surgeries on eighteen patients at the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.

The patients who benefited from the neurological surgical operations include women, men and children who, for a protracted period, have been suffering from brain, back and other illnesses and injuries.  The team includes neurologists (brain and spinal surgeons), anesthesiologists, pathologists, respiratory specialists and Registered Nurses from world-class universities.

Since the medical specialists’ arrival in the country on March 14, 2014, scores of Liberians and non-Liberians have on a daily basis, visited the JFD Hospital seeking brain and other related surgical treatments.

A joyful family member of one of the benefiting patients characterized the neurological works being carried out by the KBNF team at the JFD Hospital as ‘very wonderful.’

KBNF, headed by a registered nurse, Marjorie Ratel, is also conducting nearly a month-long training program for Liberian healthcare practitioners at the JFD Referral Hospital in Tapita, Nimba County.

Founded a few years ago, the registered charity is focused on providing medical support to Ghana and other countries in the West African region including Liberia in addressing brain and other injuries and diseases.

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Speaking to journalists over the weekend in Tappita, the head of the Canadian medical group, Marjorie Ratel, pointed out that KBNF places premium on the development of World-class hospitals, conduct of neurological research and implementation of specialist training for doctors, nurses and bio-medical engineers in the West African region.

Asked by a reporter why such neurological operations were being done only at the JFD Hospital in Liberia, Madam Rateh said, this is because it is the only medical center in the country that has CT scan, a contemporary X-Ray machine that is medically required for such delicate operations.

“With no neurosurgeons working in Liberia and up until this year, and no anesthesia physicians in the public service in Liberia, NBNF’s help is of paramount importance to the Jackson Doe Hospital,” said Ratel.

She recalled that in 2012, the KBNF team taught neuroscience education at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia.  The ongoing training program is a follow up project for interested Liberian healthcare providers.

Highlights of the training program include “Intra-operative management of neurological patients; discussion with stakeholders about referral/patient transfer options to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital or University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Nigeria as well as assessment and recommendations relating to the potential to develop future neurosurgical capabilities in Liberia and specifically at the Jackson F. Doe Hospital.

Other members of the KBNF delegation include neurosurgeon, Dr. Christopher Honey; Dr. David Udoh; Dr. Paul King; Anesthesiologist, Dr. Sampson Tudjebe; Pathologist, Dr. Mojisola Udoh. Some of the Nurses are from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (Nigeria) and the Vancouver General Hospital in Canada.

The head of the KBNF medical mission to Liberia is John Burthorne Sampson, (MD), a faculty neuroanesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins University in the United States of America. Dr. Sampson does not only have  expertise in the improvement of healthcare for people in Africa but also taught and practiced medicine in eight countries  outside of the United States of America (USA) including Jamaica, Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Kenya and Eritrea.

For his part, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, (MD, MHA, MPS/HSL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Medical Director of the JFD Hospital lauded the work of KBNF team which he said has brought much health relief to Liberians who have been faced with brain and back related illnesses and injuries.

He expressed the hope that the cordial and rewarding relations that subsist between KBNF and JFD Hospital, and Liberia as a whole, will continue to flourish in the years ahead and for the mutual benefit of the two medical institutions.

Dr. Kateh expressed support for the KBNF programs and activities and hoped that the desire of the KBNF to work with global partners including the Liberian healthcare delivery system in the development of sustainable medical services in the West African region would become a reality in the not distant future.

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