Partnering in education and equipment
to prevent needless death in Africa

Monthly Archives: August 2015

2015 Ghana Medical Fiesta Conference

The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in partnership with APM will hold the annual Medical Fiesta conference from September 14th -17th. This conference will bring medical professionals together from all over West Africa to improve medical practice through education.


The Medical Knowledge Fiesta conference seeks to promote evidence based medical practice in Ghana and provides a platform for continuous education and knowledge sharing between international health professional and their counterparts in Ghana.


Last year, over 400 physicians with 65 facilitators, including 44 from Ghana participated in the conference. The theme of this year’s event is to “improve the quality and safety of patient care .” The September Medical Fiesta is also co-sponsored by Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America.

Africa Partners Medical Nigeria and Kenya Trip

Dr. Chris Lantz, Dr Dave and Gail Simon, Dr. Keith and Carol Plate (U.S), Dr. Rolf Pelleboer (Holland), Dr. Chinenye Iwuji (England) were the team from Africa Partners Medical who went to Nigeria from June 19th 2015 until July 6th and then also to Kenya from July 7th until July 12th 2015 for Continuing Medical Education(CME) conferences and Prayer retreats with doctors and their families in the two countries.


There was a CME conference at Jos University, June22nd through the 24th the theme this year: “Updates in Cutting Edge Medicine” There was another CME July 1st 2015 at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital. APM remains committed to its mission of educating medical personnel through continuing medical education to prevent needless death in Africa.


There is a lot happening in different countries and we will update you in the next newsletter as to what happened at these conferences and other items through out the region.

New APM Partner Hospital in Wubel, Nigeria

Africa Partners Medical partnered with Project C.U.R.E., the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world, to provide medical supplies to LePan Clinic in Nigeria. LePan is a new partner clinic being set up by Dr Dan and Biola Mwanmut who have made a significant commitment to the Chakfem people of Nigeria to build a medical clinic in Wubel to provide care to the people of this village and surrounding communities. This clinic is now providing hope and medical care to many and the Mwanmut’s express sincere gratitude on behalf of their people for all the giving that made it possible.


The donated items include medical hard goods such as an ultra sound, X-ray unit and blood analyzers and disposable supplies. A team of Africa Partner Medical doctors and volunteers visited the LePan Clinic July 29th and were able to see first hand what they had prayed and labored for. We hope to bring you a full report and pictures in our next newsletter.

Keeping the Lights On So Mothers and Babies Can Live!


APM contributed to a solar generator system for Obaatan Pa Women’s Hospital in Ghana, a non-profit hospital run by Dr. Amelia Laing, which is one of APM’s partner hospitals. Dr Laing’s article below gives us only a small taste of the difference this significant contribution makes towards achieving the “fund a need” purpose!APM3


“Obaatan Pa received a patient who was fairly high risk given her age, and her elevated blood pressure. She was carrying her second child, and was three and a half weeks before her due date, her blood pressure was so out of control that we decided she needed to be delivered in order to correct her condition of Severe preeclampsia. Untreated, this could lead to seizures, strokes and or death for both mother and child. As is common in these parts, despite a lot of talking on our part, she did not really appreciate the seriousness of her condition. Her care would have been routine in the US, however, it took a lot of nurses and talking and teaching and hands on care to get her where she is now, delivered with improving blood pressures. She would definitely have required one on one nursing in the US, and considering that the standard of the average nurse here, is not quite that of the average one in the US, and that the nurses at Obaatan Pa are still learning to use some of the technology we have, it was quite a production.

WeAPM1 needed and used our IV pump for delivering drugs to prevent seizures. The pump is important because without it, it is very hard to estimate drug doses accurately- most hospitals in Ghana count drops per minute, which you can imagine is not ideal, though it works. These drugs also have a narrow margin of safety, so one can easily under dose the patient and not have an adequate response or worse, overdose the patient and cause complications. Sometimes intramuscular doses are used, every 4-6 hours, which are painful and miserable for an already sick person. They definitely raise their blood pressure which is already an issue, too.

She came in last night and as we started her in labor, we monitored mother and baby closely, using our fetal monitors. Baby, to our great relief behaved great throughout. The mother received IV Magnesium through the pump, quite painlessly. The fans kept her cool, as intravenous magnesium makes one feel very warm. We were using solar power when she came in, and it powered both the fetal monitors, the IV pAPM2ump, and of course lights and fans. The power from the grid came on at 0600 this morning, and we switched over automatically. At noon (unscheduled), there was a power outage, which continues till this minute. Again we did not miss a beat- hardly noticed it. Mother was delivered at 1030, we had great lighting, and baby was in great condition, we were able to use our warmer, as we did expect a tiny baby who might need a lot of help. Fortunately she was quite feisty and did not need much assistance. The mother will need the Magnesium for another 24 hours, and we are not at all concerned about what the electricity corporation of Ghana might do or not do. We know we can give her a high quality of care, without interruptions.

I hope I have given you some idea about how much difference the solar generator has made to our ability to care for patients, and the general quality of life on the premises. We thank you , and I know we will bless your names even further when the weather gets really hot. It is a fairly cool 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit right now.

Greetings from Accra,

Amelia Laing, MD

Dr. Amelia Laing is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist in Orrville, Ohio and runs Obaatan Pa Women’s hospital in Accra, Ghana.

Educating to Ensure the Support Team Can Help Babies Live

Dr Jay Homme, our keynote speaker at the banquet in November 2014 who has championed the effort to reduce neonatal and pediatric deaths in Africa for many years, has traveled to Ghana twice this year already, with other doctors to help train medical support professionals in this area. His report below gives us some idea of the significant and enduring impact being made.

Summary of Accra Training Trip

This trip we worked on developing a new curriculum geared primarily toward training midwives. Through previous trips to Ghana it has become clear that the mother receives most of the attention and often the caregivers aren’t knowledgeable abouAfrica Partners Medicalt what to do if baby is struggling. We’ve addressed this in part in the past through teaching the Helping Babies Breathe curriculum and in some select setting some more traditional NRP training.


Trainers included Amelia Laing (OB/GYN), Malinda Harris (Neonatology), and Jay Homme (Pediatrics).

There were two day long training sessions that combined obstetrical emergencies and care for the baby. This was a combination of both didactic and hand-on training using self-developed mannikins (parts from the HBB NeoNatalie which unfortunately break too easily combined with a more robust BLS infant trainer).Africa Partners Medical

In total we trained 23 individuals over the two days of the combined OB/Neo training sessions, most of whom were midwives. Day two presented some challenges as the power was out so teaching styles were adapted with no lights, no A/C, no overhead projector, etc… Despite those shortcomings I think we’d all agree that this was one of the best training sessions we’ve ever experienced in our travels to Ghana because the midwives that day were fully engaged and the teaching setting was more intimate. They left enthusiastic to take what they’ve learned back to their respective work locations and share it with others.

The third, and final day of training was back to our typical style of ½ day sessions for Basic Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation. During these sessions formerly trained (Ghanaian) trainers were able to partner with us and receive some feedback on their training methods. This was a gratifying experience for all involved.


We were blessed to be able to bring ~$3500 worth of new training equipment through the generosity of the APM donors. The training center is now fully equipped to run simultaneous Basic Life Support training sessions both on-site in Accra and off-site.


The next-step plans are to further developing course offerings in Basic Life Support (and First Aid) for non-health care workers as well as to obtain the necessary equipment to continue training in management of obstetrical emergencies.


Jason (Jay) Homme, M.D. is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Program Director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN


Partner Update

Pediatric Colonoscopy Success Story

As part of our ongoing partnership with our partners in Africa, APM donated funds for specialized equipment to Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Nigeria. The following is a story of an eight year old patient who presented with some issues that had been identified through a barium enema study. Initial tests suggested that he had multiple large bowel polyps but sometimes barium enema’s give the wrong impression. Prior to his visit at Jos University Teaching Hospital, the patient and his parents had been to three different states and the federal capital seeking to perform a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, none of the hospitals visited had equipment suitable for pediatric patients. Faced with limited options, Dr. Bashiru Ismaila decided to perform his first colonoscopy on this patient. Below is his story.

“It was my first colonoscopy in a child so I was extra careful but John (whose name has been withheld for privacy) was very intrigued by the procedure. He was quite calm. We had a multi-parameter monitor which showed at intervals that his vital signs were fine. I told him that he was just about the age of my second son to engage him in conversation but he just shrugged. He had four polyps, one of them was one of the largest I had seen but fortunately it was pedunculated. The polyps were snared utilizing electrocautery. John was fascinated with the process.

After the procedure John got dressed and told me he was hungry. He didn’t look like he just had a procedure! However his mother had tears in her eyes. “There is no hope…it is cancer” she had said earlier. “You do not know that. Colon cancer is rare in children, let’s wait for the histology.” I said to her. The pediatric surgeon who referred the patient agreed with me. He had been there during the procedure. He had wanted to see the colonoscopy.

The histology a few days later showed that the polyps were juvenile with no malignancy. The alternative treatment course would have been a colectomy, but how much colon to resect would have been a challenge, notwithstanding the attendant morbidity and cost. The pediatric colonoscope and the vital signs monitor were as a result of the recent grant for equipment provided by Africa Partners Medical. This is just one example of what difference you are making in Africa. You are transforming our practice, and we are doing things we only dreamt about. I remain grateful.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Dr. Bashiru (Bash) Ismaila is a physician at Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos Nigeria