Annual Report Berekum Foundation 2020Worldwide, 2020 was marked by the covid-19 epidemic. But just before this became clear, the thirteenth working visit to the HoFaHO hospital in Berekum, Ghana was made by Piet Scholten, former gynaecologist in the Diakonessenhuis in Utrecht, and Jules Schagen van Leeuwen, former gynaecologist in the St Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein/Utrecht; it was very special that Jules junior also went along for the trip; for the first time to the place and even the delivery room where he was born in 1983.
The main focus of the trip was to resume the renovation of the delivery room complex. Phase 2A was almost completed when we stayed in Berekum. While watching on our smartphones how in China an entire hospital was built for corona patients in less than a week, we could not imagine the impact the epidemic would have in Ghana as well. Vulnerable health systems are mercilessly exposed by the epidemic. The differences in chances for health are strongly enlarged by the epidemic. Fortunately the hospital was relatively free from seriously ill Covid-19 patients. Until now the disease was mainly found in urban areas in Ghana.
The theory is also that people who have been exposed to many pathogenic germs throughout their lives have acquired so many antibodies that the disease may be milder. But that is still all theory and we certainly could not know this in 2020. Everyone lived in fear of what was to come.
During our stay, skills and drills could still be taught to the house officers and midwives. Education was given to the third-year student midwives at the school for midwives. The house-officers and tropical doctors (in training) were also involved in daily operations and learning.
We stayed in the new guesthouse, which was very satisfactory. The space, atmosphere, location and possibilities of this guesthouse are appreciated by many. The collaboration with the Training Institute for International Health Care and Tropical Medicine (OIGT) was continued in 2020; tropical doctors in training from the Netherlands are trained by local doctors and Ghanaian specialists for their required internship of six months in the tropics in Berekum. This has continued in 2020 despite the corona, after a brief interruption; 4 Dutch tropical doctors per year do their internship here and live in the guesthouse. One of them, was in 2020 with her family in an accommodation that was made available by the hospital.
We again visited Dr. Isaac Duodu in Sampa (where interns were staying at the time) at the Fountain Care Clinic.
The renovation of the Maternity ward was in full swing during our visit. Temporarily the patients have been transferred to the new building, attached to the old maternity. This has led to a logistical process that seems to have been skilfully implemented. The renovation is going well and on schedule and the end result seems to be very nice, especially when this building will be connected to the new one and the available space will be a bit bigger again. Without the tremendous help of Mr Edward Mintah these weeks would not have been possible: all coordination, appointments and organizational matters he picked up quickly and we are therefore (again!) Much obliged to him. Edward came to the Netherlands with us in mid-February 2020, and stayed with all board members in turn. Besides social activities, he brought back a lot of essential medical equipment to Ghana. On the day after his return flight, the Netherlands went into lockdown. In Ghana they had already started working on this earlier and more energetically. The country has experience with epidemics. But it was at the back of the queue when it came to personal protection equipment for hospital staff.
In April 2020, at the instigation of Doctor of International Health Care and Tropical Medicine, Elselien van Leerdam, working in Berekum, € 14,181 was raised through a crowd-funding campaign in the Netherlands. This amount is earmarked to enable the hospital to better deal with the consequences of the Covid-19. Through "De Wilde Ganzen" this amount has been doubled to € 28.362.
The hospital used this amount entirely for protective equipment for the nurses, midwives and doctors at the hospital.
Sponsorships were obtained this year from foundations, churches, and donations from retirements. Our heartfelt thanks, expressed by many in Ghana, go to all donors and people who support this work. Without wanting to shortchange anyone, we would especially like to thank the de Bruijn-Kleinen Foundation and the Friends of the Medical Missionary Sisters Foundation for their generous contributions in 2020. You can read the annual financial report on our website.
When Holy Family Hospital knocked on our door a few years ago for help with the renovation of their maternity ward, we could not have imagined that by now there would be a robust clinic where about 3500 deliveries take place annually. Together with the donors of the Berekum Foundation and the many donors of Wilde Ganzen, the first two phases have now been completed (2A in 2020) and we have already managed to significantly improve the care for mother and babies. The old complex was 70 years old and designed for about 500 deliveries per year. There is now a new building with 8 delivery rooms and an operating room for any emergency treatment. Mothers-to-be can give birth safely in a friendly environment where their dignity and privacy are taken into account.
The training room for training student midwives is also important. Every year about 50 midwives complete their 3-year training here. A well-equipped incubator department has also been built. Pregnant women also receive the necessary checks and information; from contraception to caring for their newborn.
arrive at the final phase before 2021. A connection still has to be made between the old building and the new wing. The last old delivery rooms will also be renovated. For phase 2B our donors have already pledged sufficient funds to start the construction. Also this year Wilde Ganzen will support us. We are delighted with this, not only because our financial range is now significantly longer, but also because all our expenses and income, both in the Netherlands and in Ghana, are subject to rigorous audits. We are a Foundation with zero on the bow meter!
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the Ghana Collective was established in 2020. We are a founding member. The Collective offers a platform to Dutch foundations and associations that are active in Ghana. The platform wants to bring organisations together to exchange experiences, share information and knowledge and stimulate cooperation. In addition, the platform wants to increase the visibility of these organisations.
The Collective is in principle open to all organisations with an ANBI registration that carry out activities in Ghana. Participation is free of charge.
For more information see: https://info0384995.wixsite.com/ghanacollectief
Annual Report Berekum Foundation 2019A lot has happened again in 2019.
Two working visits were undertaken; in February 2019 and in October 2019; see detailed reports elsewhere on the website www.berekum.nl
During both visits we provided practical education (skills and drills, suturing course) at the midwifery school. Thus, each visit, about 80 students were retrained.
Another important event was the implementation of population screening for cervical cancer. Women in Berekum were called via e.g. churches to come forward. Specially trained nurses assessed the cervix and any abnormalities found were immediately removed by Dr. Okine, the gynecologist at Holy Family Hospital. Our role was to support the start and set up of this, supervise the cervical clinic and train the gynecologist in the treatment of the cervix. It is now intended that this important prevention will continue after our departure and plans have been made for this.
As always, we were involved in many operations, with the main objective being to train the operating skills of the local doctors. Some ten major operations were performed by us.
In this way the core task of our foundation was fulfilled; promoting medical knowledge in Africa.
The new maternity ward building (phase 1) was commissioned and the old maternity ward was renovated (phase 2A). For the completion of phase 2A, the foundation transferred 125,000 Euros to the Diocese in 2019. What now remains is the construction of phase 2B, in which the new building and the renovated old maternity ward will be adequately connected. Phase 2B will only be started after the Foundation has collected the required amount of money, in order to prevent the construction from being halted halfway through due to a lack of funding. Fundraising will therefore remain of the utmost importance to realise this. We are therefore very happy that we have received support for the project from the "Wilde Ganzen" Foundation!
The pleasant cooperation with the Training Institute for International Health Care and Tropical Medicine (OIGT) was continued; trainee tropical doctors from the Netherlands are trained by local doctors and Ghanaian specialists for their required internship of 6 months in the tropics in Berekum. As of the end of 2018, this will involve 4 tropical doctors per year; after completing her training, our foundation mediated to give one of these Doctors of International Health and Tropical Medicine, Elselien van Leerdam, a temporary contract at Holy Family Hospital in 2019. The commissioning of the new maternity and the logistics involved proved to be so complex that the temporary deployment of a Dutch tropical doctor proved very useful for the sake of continuity of care and management. We are very happy with the extension of her stay!
During our visit to Berekum in February 2019, the Guesthouse for the tropical doctors i.o. and for the coassistants from Groningen was festively opened and put into use. During our visit in October 2019, we ourselves were able to stay in this beautiful Guesthouse for the first time.
Also in 2019, no less than 25 Berekum coassistants, in periods varying between 8 and 20 weeks, visited the hospital for training; the enthusiasm and enthusiasm remain high. Again and again, Holy Family Hospital proves to be a great internship for the Dutch students. The exchange of knowledge and social interactions with the Ghanaian students is heartwarming.
One of the working visits in 2019 was combined with a visit to the Peace and Love Hospital in Kumasi, where Dr. Beatrice Wiafe treats patients with breast cancer from all over Ghana! We also operated on another emergency gynaecological patient here. We also visited Dr. Isaac Duodu in Sampa (where residents stay in the Fountain Care Clinic) and the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Hwidiem, almost 2 hours south of Berekum. Also in this hospital there are good opportunities for internships for residents: we received a warm welcome and made good plans with them.
At the end of the 2 deworking visits we visited Cape Coast where we participated in the annual "awareness-walk" for breast cancer which was organized by the "Peace and Love Hospital" from Kumasi. An impressive event where an estimated 50.000 people participated and where a lot of radio, TV and internet publicity was generated.
Sponsorships were obtained from foundations, churches, donations at retirements, and by various actions. Our heartfelt thanks, expressed by many in Ghana, go to all donors and people who support this work.