Actors Boris Kodjoe and Nicole-Ari Kodjoe recently returned from a week-long trip to West Africa, Ghana, where they met with Health officials about establishing a clinic for Spina Bifida patients on behalf of their foundation, Sophie’s Voice.
Sophie’s Voice Foundation ,which is dear to the Kodjoe’s heart, was founded in honor of the couple’s daughter Sophie,4, who was born with spina bifida.
“Sophie was born with spina bifida, which is a neural tube defect. It’s something where the spinal cord develops and doesn’t close all the way. So, a lot of kids who suffer from spina bifida have brain damage, motor function issues, they can’t move their legs, and they don’t have any sensations. I thank God that my daughter was spared those more severe effects. She can’t control her bladder [though] … We have to monitor the pressure in her bladder by catheterizing, which can be very [difficult for her] — it’s just not a nice thing for a kid having to grow up being catheterized every three hours,”said Boris in an interview with RollingOut magazine earlier this year.
Boris and his wife Nicole hope to spare many more children in Ghana who do not have access to the resources that Sophie does. Currently, Ghana does not provide special health care for newborns with spina bifida, but the Kodjoe’s hope to change that:
“Working together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SVF will help initiate a surveillance project to determine the current population living with spina bifida and the country’s mortality rate of babies born with spina bifida. Once a clinic model is designed to accommodate the Ghana healthcare system, SVF will take a delegation of physicians, nurses and healthcare providers from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and other U.S. institutions to Ghana, where they will be teamed with Ghanaian physicians and nurses to provide training and hands-on patient care. In addition to the clinic, SVF will establish its first chapter outside the U.S. in Ghana – to be known as Sophie’s Voice Ghana.”