Donkor returns to collect money and collect supplies – Farmville

Dr. Kwabena Donkor is on a mission to get much needed supplies for his hospital in Ghana.

Doncore, a physician, testing specialist, pulmonologist and longtime Farmville resident, recently returned to the community to collect supplies and raise funds for the Ama Nyame Memorial Medical Center – the clinic he set up in honor of his late mother in Ghana.

In an interview dated July 22, Dr. Duncourt explained the history of the clinic and the importance of the supply and donation campaign he seeks to add to a much-needed service.

Donkor’s parents were born in Kumasi, Ghana, and both worked as farmers. His mother and father were uneducated, but his father, who was the local chief, was able to make strides in learning through night study programs.

Doncourt spent his childhood going to school. When he grew up, he graduated from the University of Ghana Medical School and became General Doctor. Soon after, he arrived in the United States at the age of 29 to continue his medical studies at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here was his inspiration to become a pulmonologist.

“There were a number of people that I considered like my mentors at Tulane University Medical Center. I’ve met some amazing people, very smart people,” he said. “They gave me some things that let me know what I wanted to do. Of all the different things I saw, I just wanted to become a pulmonologist.”

Doncourt said there were some special things he loved about his teachers in college — one of them being that they were pulmonologists. He wanted to follow in their footsteps.

While training in Tulane, his mother fell seriously ill in Ghana, news that it took nearly a year to reach him in the United States.

Because of the superstitions prevalent in the country, her illness was considered a “spiritual illness” and she was placed in a synagogue for those believed to be possessed by demons. Doncor flew to Ghana to take care of her and was able to take her to the regional hospital in Kumasi.

“The woman I left was not the woman I saw,” Doncourt said of returning home to help his mother. He said she was “a kind of reinforcement and helped everyone” and that she was a hard working farmer. He found her looking “as white as white paper” and unable to walk on her own. “It was hard for me,” Duncourt said.

Once she got treatment, doctors found she had a common “tropical parasitic infection” caused by hookworm. After the treatment, she was able to start eating again after two weeks, but remained very weak.

Doncourt’s mother has recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital and go home. However, he said, the toll of infection over the course of a year affected her heart, leaving her with breathing difficulties.

Doncore said he left Ghana to resume his studies once he was relieved that his mother would be fine based on how well she was. However, three days after his return to the United States, he received a letter stating her death.

“I promise… If I get the chance, no one should go through this again. As long as I live.”

This was the beginning of the Ama Niam Memorial Medical Center. In 2004, Donkor succeeded in acquiring land near Kumasi despite facing issues of tradition still strong in that area.

After sharing his story with friends and fellow Virginia residents, word spread about his project and he was able to complete the construction of the clinic thanks to fundraising and the help of missionaries. However, in the past eight to ten years, the clinic has needed significant supplies to accommodate both patients and staff.

“We have basic services,” he explained, noting that as the hospital began providing its services, people in the community found they needed more. In addition, as more people learn about the services, they are finding that the demand is increasing beyond the available capacity.

Similarly, Dr. Duncourt spoke in great detail about how important the clinic needed support, and shared the story of a time when a patient did not survive.

“We did the best we could. Eventually the woman died. While this finding is not uncommon, what followed was due to the corpse having to remain in the bed in the women’s ward shared by up to four others, as they had no private rooms.”

“No one up there can stay in the room with a dead body,” Duncourt said, noting that it’s not air-conditioned. “So now this amber is completely empty. And that is the easiest part of it.”

Then hospital officials faced the dilemma of knowing that the family did not have the money to transport the deceased, but they hoped to collect it in a day or two. In addition, they had no way of transporting their loved ones to the nearest hospital with a mortuary 30 miles away.

So now we have a dead body in the ward, all this time, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” he said. “Three days later, I have a delegation from the family and two other families,” he said. “They ask me to make sure they build a morgue in my center the first chance I get.”

Doncourt said he is ready to build a mortuary as soon as there is money to do so.

“It’s sad…but there’s nothing we can do about it, other than doing exactly what they ask us to do,” he said. But we don’t have the money to build a mortuary at this time. So how can we do this? Well, I have to go to people and tell them that’s what we need. If we have the money, we’ll do it.”

As such, Dr. Doncore is running a supply campaign in Farmville alongside Justin Young, CEO of Piedmont Senior Resources and a friend of his for more than 25 years. The campaign focuses on raising funds for the mortuary, while also collecting important medical items. Contractors estimate that the burial will be about $25,000 for the construction project. Young states that the drive is open to the public and to anyone who wants to help.

“The main goal now is … to provide supplies that they can’t get or can’t afford,” he said. “But right now, we’re just doing little things.” He said he’s asking for donations of small things, like baby aspirin and multivitamins that contain iron.

Doncore said he would ensure anyone in the Farmville community that donations would not be in vain.

“The only promise… we can make is this – every dollar that is donated will be put in and toward this funeral burial. Every dollar,” he said, noting that the thing should be done. “When people say they’re making contributions, that’s where they’re going to go.”

Financial contributions to Ama Nyame Memorial Medical Center may be sent to this address: Ama Nyame Memorial Medical Center Inc. Molding. 353, Farmville, VA 23901.

Medical donations can be delivered to the following address: Piedmont Senior Resources, 1413 South Main St, Farmville, Virginia 23901

If you have any questions, please call (434) 767-5588.