British High Commissioner raises GH₵ 237,000 through bicycle riding to support Korle-Bu Burns Unit

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History was made when the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker in august this year,  embarked on a cross-country cycling adventure across the country, covering an overwhelming distance of 1000km.

The “Ghana Grand” bicycle tour, saw the British High Commissioner and his team cycle from Tumu, in the Upper West Region to Accra, the first of its kind to be done in the country.

The adventure, which is an initiative stemming from Mr Walker’s genuine desire to effect a positive change and experience the country at length was also to address some issues relating to health, tourism, and the environment.

Most importantly, Mr Walker focused on using the “challenging trip” to raise funds to support the Burns and Reconstructive Surgery Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The historic ride has achieved its principal objective with the team announcing that an amount of GH₵ 237,000 was raised from the tour to support the Korle-Bu Burns Unit and the Tamale Fistula Centre.

The amount, it explained, will be used to set up a microsurgery training laboratory to train surgeons on how to conduct microsurgery to contribute to reducing burns mortality in the country.

At a ceremony in Accra Wednesday, Mr Iain Walker led the Ghana Grand team to present assorted surgical equipment, including operating microscopes to officials of the Korle-Bu Burns Unit to facilitate the training.

Mr Walker, who was visibly delighted by the milestone, said although the gesture will not completely resolve the challenges of the Unit, it will improve the Unit’s service delivery.

He said that about 300,000 people die of burns worldwide, making the incident a major public health issue. He added that considering the shortage of plastic surgeons in the country, the fate of burns victims is bleak, hence the intervention.

“We believe that this tour will also enable us to begin to have a conversation about some health issues, including mental health that require our attention. Issues of health and well-being are critical to the country’s development“ he said.

On tourism and the natural environment, Mr Walker noted that: “Ghana is a beautiful, friendly, vibrant country with amazing people doing great things. Its warmth matched by the people’s welcoming nature.”

Receiving the items on behalf of the Korle-Bu Burns Unit, the Minister of Health,  Kwaku Agyemang-Manu expressed profound gratitude to the UK High Commissioner and his team for the gesture done the hospital.

The move, he noted, will not only contribute to saving lives but also contribute to enhancing the skills of surgeons who will trained by the Unit to intensify professionalism in the health sector.

For his part, the Head of the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre, Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah said the resources received will be channeled into training more plastic surgeons to expand its services across the country.

“People have lost their lives because many doctors do not have the skill to conduct mircosurgey. The training will enable us equip more doctors with the skill so that if  you go to every district, you can access the service without necessary coming to Korle-Bu or tamale,” he said.

Microsurgery is the use of specialized microscopes to aid in a surgical procedure. In September this year, a team of physicians and nurses at the National Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre reattached the severed wrist of a patient, a feat that dominated media discussions.


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