Restoring spines and hope
Ghana is located in the middle of West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. It is where Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei grew up—long before he was a doctor—and where he returned after becoming a renowned surgeon, inventor and philanthropist. Today, he is saving lives and restoring hope for a vulnerable population, one operation at a time, and Stryker is proud to be by his side.
Making healthcare better is a global challenge. And in some developing countries, like Ghana, there is a pivotal need for greater access to care. That includes treatment for spinal deformities and other orthopaedic problems.
Ghana has historically had a lack of surgeons and medical technology needed to perform the complex surgeries associated with these conditions. This puts an immense strain on vulnerable communities, including infants and young children, many of whom are abandoned or cast away from their families because of the societal stigma and cost of care.
For the children afflicted with scoliosis, polio and other spine-related diseases, hope arrived in the form of a physician living nearly 8,000 miles away—in Manhattan, New York.
Bringing expertise and resources home
When he moved to the United States from Ghana in 1972, Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei had every intention of returning home one day. What he didn't know was how long it would take. He had moved to the United States for college and went on to train as an orthopaedic surgeon, developing a reputation for excellence in his field.
Between raising a family and building his practice in Manhattan, Dr. Boachie-Adjei began making return trips to Ghana. In 1998, he started the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) and in 2012 the FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital in Accra, Ghana was opened. Two years later, at the age of 63, Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei realised, "If I want to train more surgeons in Ghana, now is the time". And with that, he left the comforts of New York City and finally returned home to dedicate himself full time to FOCOS.
"The mission of FOCOS is to provide affordable orthopedic care to those who would not otherwise have access to such treatment", explains Dr. Boachie-Adjei. "The patients we treat both surgically and non-surgically have disabling musculoskeletal disorders, including complex spine deformities and pediatric orthopaedic problems". For the children of Ghana, this means getting a complex surgery for a medical issue that may have otherwise taken away their chance for a happy, healthy life.
A valued partner
Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei is more than a source of inspiration. He's our valued partner. Dr. Boachie-Adjei is a member of our Spine division's Scientific Board. He helped to create the Mesa Locking Technology, a top-loading, low-profile system designed to address difficult maneuvers for complex spinal pathologies. And Stryker supports FOCOS by providing product donations to the FOCOS hospital in Ghana, along with periodically sending employees on mission trips to the hospital.
"My experience working at the FOCOS hospital with Dr. Boachie-Adjei and other amazing surgeons and medical professionals was fantastic", said Catherine (Ross) Stone, Senior Manager of Advanced Operations at Stryker. "Many of the cases seen at the FOCOS hospital are much more severe than what is usually seen in the United States. Being able to be in the operating room while these surgeries are being performed is beyond imagination".
The power of hope
When children in Ghana have scoliosis, polio or another spine-related disease, it takes away more than their mobility. It can take away their hope and their future. At Stryker, we've seen the power of that hope being restored—one child, one operation at a time.
Making healthcare better isn't easy. In fact, it can be extremely difficult. But in places like Ghana, for the children that FOCOS serves, it's always worth it.