Kimberly Daley- Duquesne University, USA

Post date: Oct 26, 2010 10:28:3 PM

Health Project Report I spent ten weeks working and observing medical procedures and occurrences in Ga West Municipal Hospital located in Amasaman.  Through the duration of my stay, I worked in the Out Patient Department, Ante-Natal Department, Labor Ward, Gynecology Ward, Child Welfare Clinic, Buruli Ward, Theatre, Ear/Nose/Throat Department, Eye Department, Dental Department, Family Planning Department, and Laboratory.  As a premedical student, I was given the opportunity to observe and interact with patients in a way I never would have been able to elsewhere.  Each department and ward taught me much about Ghana’s Health Care system, the diseases and health complications that afflict the residents of Ghana, and much about the happenings of hospitals in general. 

In the Out Patient Department, I was faced with watching few doctors examine hundreds of patients throughout the week, with many of the patients suffering from hypertension, malaria, typhoid, sickle cell, and other common ailments.  I observed a doctor for the duration of my time in the Out Patient Department, and he was very helpful in answering many of the questions I had while observing interactions between doctor and patient.  He even provided me with a text that discussed the systems and side effects of the various diseases and medical problems typically experienced in Ghana.

The Ante-Natal Department processed hundreds of pregnant woman every week to ensure that they and their future babies remained health during the pregnancy.  In this department, I observed a nurse who provided check ups for pregnant women, measured the fundal height, and listened the heart beat of the fetus to make sure all parties were healthy.  The nurse also provided women with anti-malaria tablets to prevent malaria in the pregnant women. 

In the Labor Ward, I witnessed several births, and was also given the opportunity to witness cesarean sections.  I was also able to witness several cesarean sections while in the Theatre.  These are two opportunities I would have never experienced elsewhere.  This was also the first time I had ever witnessed birth.  In the Gynecology Ward, I observed the nurses take care of pregnant women who had malaria, and also take care of women who recently had cesarean sections.  This ward served as a recovery area for many women: those who had given birth and also those who had lost their children.  In the Child Welfare Clinic, I observed nurses providing recently born babies their vaccinations, as well as the vaccinations for pregnant women to ensure the healthy birth of the baby.  I wasn’t able to give the vaccinations, but it was a great learning experience. 

The Buruli Ward was the most interesting ward I was able to observe.  I was given the opportunity to watch the undressing and redressing of wounds caused by the Buruli Ulcer.  I was also given the opportunity to watch a research institute come in and test various people to see if they had the Buruli Ulcer.  I had never heard of the Buruli Ulcer and knew nothing about it until I came to this ward.  This experience made me really interested in studying the Ulcer, and other tropical diseases in the future since so little is known about the Buruli Ulcer and its mode of transmission.  While in the ward, I was also able to witness six surgeries:  4 excisions and 2 skin grafts.

In the Ear/Nose/Throat and Eye Department, I was able to observe nurses see patients and prescribe medications to help them with their various ailments.  The two wards are relatively new in the Hospital and therefore, not as busy as the Out Patient Department.  In the Dental Unit, I was able to observe the Dentist clean teeth, perform extractions, and provide routine checks of the mouth.  The Family Planning Unit was a new experience because I was able to learn the importance of family planning in Ghana as well was the options for birth control in Ghana.  The laboratory was an interesting experience in that nurses or doctors were not present, just lab technicians.  I was able to complete malaria tests, HIV tests, VDRL tests, and analyze blood samples to check the break down of its composition.  I was also taught how to collect blood samples from patients.

In all, this was a very worthwhile experience.  I learned much over the course of the ten weeks I have been in Ghana, and I am very grateful for the experience.