The Afro News Burnaby
We have cause to be thankful today, as a life has been saved, that life is Ibrahim Essandoh. The transplant operation has been performed successfully by the Canadian doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. By all accounts, so far, Ibrahim is recovering well and there is great hope that his ‘new’ kidney will not be rejected by his body but this will not be known for another few months. But, there is a twist to this remarkable story.
As earlier reported Ibrahim was waiting anxiously for his brother Thomas to arrive from Ghana: A country that has historically had a close connection to Canada. In fact, Canada has accorded the second largest Canadian Embassy in Africa to Ghana that is staffed with 65 personnel, as explained by Mr. Addei-Piprah the Honorary Consul-General for the Republic of Ghana in Burnaby.
Dr. Clement Apaak, past spokesperson for Ibrahim: “It is strange that the Canadian immigration officers did not accept the information from Canadian doctors that Thomas would be an appropriate family donor. I can see the value of providing DNA samples but within the context of a life and death situation I would have wished the Canadian government would allow the donor to come and donate the kidney while they verify the authenticity of the relationship.”
So, why did Canada not give Thomas a visitor’s visa after St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver identified through blood tests that Thomas is the best candidate to offer one of his kidneys to Ibrahim. Mr. George Addei-Piprah stated that “this is a special situation and that it’s humanitarian in nature and that there should be some kind of fast track mechanism. And there is also the issue of cost to the Canadian taxpayer of $50,000.00 per year for the hospitals to administer dialysis.” In this case of Ibrahim, it is over $100,000.00. George continues: “It only makes sense to expedite a visitor’s visa not only on humanitarian basis but also the cost to the Canadian taxpayer.”
According to Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, professor at Kwantlan Polytechnic University in Sociology, Clement (the past spokesperson for Mr. Essandoh) was instrumental in highlighting and showcasing Ibrahim’s case to the citizens of Canada. There is no question that the media and social networking sites mobilized Canadian citizens to take action by calling MP Jason Kenny, Minister Responsible for Immigration along with public demonstrations.
As stated by Clement: “Even though we were critical of the government, the truth is that the elected officials listened to its citizens and we are lucky that we live in a system where the democracy works. The peoples support can bring about results that most people could not imagine. Thomas and his wife received six-month visitors visa’s after the DNA results provided that in fact Thomas is Ibrahim’s brother.”
Here is the twist in the story. Charles says: “It is an interesting and fortunate twist to the story – just as Thomas and his wife were on their international flight to Canada with their Visitor’s Visas, the transplant operation was already underway. An anonymous donor came forward during the media blitz to offer up one of his/her kidneys to Ibrahim and the miracle is that donor was a suitable donor.” George says we are very thankful Thomas is here for moral support and of course within this six month window there is the possibility the Ibrahim’s body could reject this donor’s kidney.” So far by all accounts, his frail body is becoming stronger.
Dr. Quist-Adade: “I met [Ibrahim] a couple of weeks ago and he looked very good. He is a fighter who really wants to live and we should do what we can to help him. Thanks to his wife and the Ghanaian community was a bulwark of support for Mr. Essandoh.”
“What has happened is a lot more than was expected, Ibrahim had the comfort of knowing his brother was coming and saw him and now Ibrahim, his wife and three children is rest assured that he has the support from his brother and wife from Ghana,” stated Dr. Apaak. We are talking about a back-up kidney transplant if his body were to reject the anonymous donors’. I believe that Ibrahim feels so blessed today that he will embrace the gift of life with all his heart, mind and soul. It is the hope of many people, not only the Ghanaian-Canadian communities that Mr. Essandoh does not have to undergo another operation.
This story garnered international recognition. Clement continues: “Even though this is a domestic issue it has become a source of reference internationally.”
There is a big sigh of relief that Ibrahim, so-far, has survived this ordeal.
The next step is the out-of-pocket expenses have been incurred. Dr. Quist-Adade: “We are appealing for all and sundry to come and donate into a special account set up for the Essandoh family through the Ghana Canada Association of British Columbia (GCABC), www.ghanaiansinbc.org/ Contact the Treasurer, Mrs. Judy Lartey (604-985-9553) or the President, Dr. Quist-Adade (604-599-2254). It is hoped that a minimum of $5,000.00 can be raised for Ibrahim and his family.