We’re committed to making sure we’re doing good medical work at each of our sites. However, things don’t always run as smoothly as we would like. We also promised to be transparent with our volunteers so they always know what’s going with us and the organisations we support, and are open to a little bit of constructive criticism. So here we are upholding that promise. We chatted with one of our medical volunteers, Rosie, who has volunteered three times with our Ghana medical programme to ask her what she thinks needs improvement to our medical clinic, and here’s what we learned.
The most common issues facing Ghanaians, especially children, are;
It is believed that the seizures are a result of malnourishment, inflicted by consuming either too much or too little sodium in one’s diet. The staff at the clinic are quite knowledgeable on how to handle these issues.
However, these seem to be the only issues they are knowledgeable on. Since these are the ailments that clinic workers have been trained to treat, these are what they treat patients for, regardless of their actual ailment. This can lead to ineffective treatment of certain patients.
One of the biggest issues facing the clinic is community member’s hesitancy to go to the clinic. This a result of multiple factors, two of the largest being;
To confront this problem, the clinic has begun going into the village to try and reach out to community members. Moving into the communities and making healthcare more accessible may encourage more people to seek out medical attention when it’s needed.
In addition to raising awareness of symptoms and signs of illness, many residents are not aware of basic preventative measures that could help stop illness before it starts.
Anything from teaching children how to properly use malaria nets and giving them the right equipment to set them up, to teaching people how to properly dress minor wounds to avoid infection can prevent a huge number of illnesses and potentially deaths. This education needs to be shared not only with children, but with parents as well.
Medical volunteers will bring sick children to get medicine or more serious medical attention. Unfortunately, sometimes the workers at the clinic will take advantage of the volunteers and overcharge them for services. They also have been raising prices in general recently, discouraging many people from going.
In addition to unequal pricing, there is often also unequal treatment of patients due to varying degrees of resources and training. Different nurses and doctors come equipped with different skills and different tools, meaning the treatment one resident receives may be completely different than the treatment someone else with the same affliction receives.
In addition to a lack of education about illness, many residents of Ghana also have negative cultural attitudes in regards to illness or poor health.
Admitting illness can often be construed as a sign of weakness in Ghanaian society, preventing people from seeking medical care when they very often need it.
They have a much more relaxed attitude towards illness and injury, meaning they often don’t come in until symptoms are life threatening and could have been treated much sooner when they were less serious.
The mobile clinics mentioned earlier seem to be quite beneficial to residents. Sending medical care to the people rather than waiting for them to come in on their own makes it easier to be aware of the issues facing most residents, gives doctors and nurses the ability to catch troubles early on, and helps serve people who may not be aware of their illness. It also helps healthcare professionals become more aware of what the issues are so they can receive proper training and obtain proper equipment to treat patients.
They have also emphasised the importance of education in regards to healthcare, and making sure people are aware of not only the symptoms of illness but how to prevent becoming sick in the first place.
It would also be beneficial for healthcare professionals to better explain treatments to their patients. Currently, many doctors and nurses work without explaining to the patient what they are doing or why. By explaining their work, teaching their patients the effects of their work, and teaching them preventative care, their work could have a much more lasting and impactful effect.
With this also comes teaching people that it is alright to seek out help if they need it. As mentioned earlier, there is an overriding attitude in Ghana that being sick or injured is a sign of weakness. By teaching people the realities of sickness and encouraging people to seek help if and when they need it, doctors and nurses will be able to treat people as soon as possible, greatly increasing chances of recovery or even survival.
For now, we will do our best to ensure that the citizens are provided with the best healthcare available. We will continue sending passionate, able volunteers to Ghana to work on continuously improving the clinic and overall medical care in the area. From this we will be able to continue to better healthcare in Ghana.
Like to Volunteer with us or know more?
Questions? Would you like to participate? That’s great – feel free to email us or call/whatsapp us on: +44 (0) 7704 129 816
Alternatively, complete an application to begin the process of volunteering in Ghana, and we’ll be in touch with more details!