Langley-based Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF) shipped two shipping containers loaded with medical supplies to West Africa. (KBNF/special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley charity sends ambulance and medical supplies to West Africa

Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation now needs funds to train medical workers

An ambulance from B.C., outfitted to support women in labour, has been shipped to Liberia by the Langley-based Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation (KBNF), along with two shipping containers loaded with medical supplies.

Next, KBNF plans to raise funds to train first responders and paramedics in the West African country.

At a mid-December send-off, KBNF president Marj Ratel and her army of volunteers were joined by MLAs Mary Polak from Langley and Ian Paton from the Delta South riding, and corporate sponsor Karl Gillies, president of trucking company Diamond Delivery.

“There are no other containers like this is all of West Africa,” Ratel commented.

“As soon as they open the doors, they know they have received something really special.”

The ambulance was donated by a Nanaimo-based ambulance service, LIFESUPPORT, and outfitted to help mothers in labour.

Early in 2020, KBNF estimates $50,000 will be needed to provide training for West African paramedics and health workers in a new obstetrics curriculum developed by Graham Williamson of LIFESUPPORT.

To kick off the fundraising effort, Gillies, presented Ratel with a donation of $5,000.

“It is near impossible to realize the need in West Africa for medical help as well as the amazing and life-changing work undertaken by this small charity,” Gillies said.

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Polak thanked KBNF, calling the shipment ”one small step needed to make great change,” and adding “you must lie awake at night wondering how you are going to make a dent in such great need. Thank you to all of you for doing this and allowing us to enjoy your company and love that you are giving.”

Since 2002, KBNF has shipped more than $17 million worth of medical equipment to West Africa, performed hundreds of neurosurgeries, and offered training to thousands of healthcare workers on the frontlines.

The charity traces its beginnings to Vancouver Coastal Health in 2000, when Marj Ratel and three neuro nurses launched a partnership with a West African neurosurgeon aimed at building neuroscience care abroad.

Vancouver Coastal Health continues to donate used medical equipment to KBNF, which is shipped to Africa.

For more information, visit: Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation.

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