Valuable medical aid such as IV poles, wheelchairs, hospital beds and many more have been collected by ambitious Vancouver nurse Marj Ratel. For poor countries like Nigeria Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia it could make the difference between life and death in some cases.
She has managed to fill two former chicken barns with medical resources. Among the valuable aid furniture, pharmaceuticals, and advanced medical devices such as surgical drills were collected from British Columbia hospitals, clinics and institutions. They were donated to her foundation, the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation, which aims to help to develop African countries improve healthcare care systems.
The foundation managed to send 11 containers to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana in the last two years. The idea came to Ratel after she saw the dramatic results of the Ebola outbreak. More than 11,000 people in less than two years and overloaded the already thin and poor medical systems of the affected countries.
Korle-Bu aims to ship at least four containers this summer and in the fall, with an estimated cost of about $10,000 each. One was already sent this month in Liberia were a hospital was badly damaged by a fire. A second will be sent in August in Nigeria. For the other two, the foundation is still raising money in order to finance the shipment. Another $40,000 or more would mean that the remaining equipment will be shipped.
As the farmer who let Ratel store the donations for free wants to sell the property, they must soon find a way to deliver all the remaining medical supplies. One of the containers will with diapers, baby outfits and toys should reach a maternity hospital in Sierra Leone.
The donations have already made a big difference for several hospitals in West Africa, as people can now be treated properly, avoiding further complications.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca