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Local Health Care Workers Plan Medical Teaching Trip to Ghana

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Four Winston-Salem residents will join a group of 16 obstetric & gynecology and pediatric specialists from across the United States, Croatia and Canada for a medical teaching trip to Ghana on Friday, January 26, through an organization called Kybele (Key-bell-a). The local volunteers include: ▪ Medge Owen, M.D., Kybele founder and associate professor of anesthesiology at Wake. Forest University Baptist Medical Center                                                          

▪ Michael Rieker, CRNA, D.N.P., director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at Wake Forest Baptist.

▪ Shelma Williams, R.N., labor and delivery nurse at Forsyth. Medical Center

▪ Kristin Bryant, Kybele administrative assistant.

Vernon Ross, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist, also served as a coordinator for this trip.

Kybele is an organization dedicated to help provide a compassionate, safe and less painful delivery for women and babies worldwide. Kybele volunteers are anesthesiologists, nurses, midwives, neonatologists and interns from countries all over Europe, Australia and North America. They have taken medical mission trips to Turkey, Croatia, Ghana, Mongolia, the Republic of Georgia and Armenia. 

Medge Owen, M.D., founder of Kybele, visited Ghana for the first time in 2003.

In Ghana, as well as other African countries, maternal and newborn mortality is unacceptably high,” said Owen. “Nearly one in 100 women and one in 10 newborns die during childbirth.”

Kybele’s overall goal in Ghana is to establish three obstetric centers of excellence where they hope to reduce the number of maternal and newborn deaths by half. They will be visiting the country twice each year over five years.

During this trip, Kybele volunteers will be working in five hospitals but will focus their efforts on their first center of excellence, Ridge Hospital, in Accra.

We will provide 24/7 staffing to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the system,” said Owen. “Based on our observations, together with the staff in Ghana, we will establish new protocols for the safe delivery of medical care. We will also be lecturing and teaching, especially regarding neonatal resuscitation.” 

Future trips are currently planned for Brazil, Japan, Romania and Egypt.