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Recap of a Life Changing Experience

Hello everybody! Sorry for not putting this post up last night. For this post, I want to recap and reflect on my four weeks in Ghana. The experience was enriching and is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. During my stay in Cape Coast, about 150 kilometers from Accra, I interned in four different rotations at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital. During the first week, I worked in the pediatric ward where I was responsible for documenting notes and vitals. I also attended child mortality meetings with medical students and residents to discuss different cases and how better health care can be administered to reduce the mortality rate. During the second week, I was shadowing Dr. Juliana Arthur and Dr. Ellen in the pediatric outpatient department. I was able to do many things such as taking a patient history and performing small examinations on patients. I was also able to auscultate patients under direct supervision. The outpatient delivery rotation was a very humbling experience. During this week, I also participated in an outreach in the village of Jukwa. Many different departments that were present included nutrition, public health, eye clinic, and ENT. I think Columbus and the U.S. should do something like this as this is a great intervention strategy. It allows for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention to occur which is extremely important in public health. I think this was a very nice way to bring health care and the services of the teaching hospital to those who either can’t afford health or who can’t access the hospital due to geographic barriers. I certainly wish I could’ve been a part of more outreaches but I’m happy I was able to get the experience while volunteering and serving the community. In week 3, I was working in the public health family planning department. In this clinic, family members can discuss about how many kids they plan to have and at what frequency. They offer many contraceptives and other birth control options for women who decide to not become pregnant. They also did a great job informing parent’s on vaccinations for their child as well as how to properly take care of them. For example, according to one of my cohort members, the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) provides free mosquito nets as malaria is a big epidemic in the country. Also, during the third week, I took part in a radio show with three other staff members of the hospital. On July 28th, World Hepatitis Day was observed and a few days before this date, I participated in this show to raise awareness and educate the central region of Ghana about hepatitis and the importance of being vaccinated, screened, and treated if diagnosed. This experience was definitely not obtainable for me in Columbus so I was very honored and privileged to be a part of this show. During the final week, I rotated in the male and female medical wards. I joined Dr. Lovi’s firm team and did rounds with him every morning for the last week. After rounds, I would shadow Dr. Armah and follow him around as he did patient reviews and physical examinations. In Ghana, I was also able to witness a different scope of diseases including TB, malaria, HIV, cholera, and more.

I honestly went into this trip with an open mind to learn more about Ghana culture and health care. I wanted to learn more about how tertiary health care is administered and what the citizens think of the healthcare. Ghana is definitely striving towards universal health care and while they haven’t quite reached that point, they’re going in the right direction. Health care in Ghana is extremely affordable to many citizens. Plus, many of them are very happy with the health care they’re receiving as Dominic (nurse who gave us weekly lectures on Ghana health) mentioned to us. Ghana hospitals and the PPAG have created a very safe learning environment for families to address different issues. However, more education on issues such as teen pregnancy and infectious diseases need to be administered and I applaud the work that the hospital and PPAG does to the citizens. Many of the doctors in the hosptial told me that the medical technology and equipment is not advanced but relative to other West African countries, Ghana is much more stable in terms of their quality of health. In this trip, I was also able to appreciate Ghana culture by doing some sightseeing when I was not working in the hospital on the weekends. One weekend, I explored Accra (the capital of Ghana) and the Arts Center and was deeply immersed by the handicrafts. I also visited the Cape Coast and Elmina Castle which date back to some of the darkest moments of African slavery. Furthermore, I also got to pet a crocodile and walk through a canopy 40 meters above the ground. Overall, my main objective in terms of learning about Ghana’s health care and culture was a huge success and I am beyond thankful to everyone who made my goals possible!

I hope you all enjoyed joining me on my journey through these blog posts. I never thought in a million years that I would be blogging about my maiden journey to Africa but here I am. I have been able to examine and analyze my experiences through a different lens. While my daily blog posts will come to an end here, I do hope to continue blogging occasionally as I begin my third year at Ohio State in under two weeks!

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1 Comment

  1. All the best for the new academic year. you have made the most out of your period spent at Ghana. It definitely was enriching not only for you but to us readers too. Keep on sharing whatever you want to, whenever you can.

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