Our group has moved North to Bolga. We split into four groups to serve four community clinics surrounding the city of Bolga. Our clinic was located in the village of Nangodi and was the largest and the most acute serving this region. The clinic consisted of a mental health unit, a child and maternal health department, a consulting room, a lab, a dispensary, and a two bed ward. The villagers of this community are challenged with transportation so this clinic serves as their primary health care facility. Having such an comprehensive clinic to serve a rural population is essential in Ghana and could be a model for our rural communities back home. This facility is staffed by medical, mental health and community nurses, in addition to midwives, and a physician’s assistant. Our group worked alongside these health care providers for four days and had the opportunity to experience all aspects of the clinic.
|Kids celebrating after receiving their vitamins|
One of the most fulfilling and engaging components of our time in Nangodi was working alongside the community nurses. We were able to accompany them to the local schools to administer Vitamin A supplements to children under five.. The children were as excited to see us as we were to see them. You have never seen kids so excited to take their vitamins!
In our partnership with the community nurses we also did home visits for well-baby checkups. There was visible frustration in the community nurse due to lack of adherence to the vaccination schedule from some mothers. Our nurse had a discussion with the mother of a 2 ½ year old child who had not followed up with the health care team for his 18 month checkup. We asked the mother why she was finding it difficult to come down to the clinic, hoping to find a solution, but the mother was silent. We could only guess at the reason for her hesitation, leaving the community nurse to simply shake her head and move on. The clinic is working to educate families of the importance of proper health and ways to do so to increase engagement between nurses and mothers. For example, this Monday there will be a cooking workshop to teach moms how to best preserve nutrients in their meals.
We also worked with a physician’s assistant who acts as the primary health provider for not only Nangodi but also neighbouring communities. We nurtured a very collaborative relationship and taught each other a great deal. Learning the care of tropical diseases was a new experience for us all and we were able to witness the care for malaria, typhoid, a snake bite, and digestive worms to name a few. Having a patient pull a snake out of a bag that had bit him earlier was definitely a first!
|Staff at the Nangodi clinic|
Despite the variety of services the clinic currently provides, the staff is aware of a lack of access to health care for their youth population. In acknowledging this they are currently expanding the clinic to include an adolescent reproductive health unit. We were inspired by the determination of the staff to educate and care for the community and we are hopeful that we will see more of this model of holistic healthcare at home.
Posted by Andrea Naka, Kelsey Bellerive, Harveer Pooni and Carolyn Grinham.