Ghana Blog: Appreciate the Sunshine

June 30th, 2017

I find myself always wishing for it to snow. This is not because I love snow more than sunshine. This is because I live smack in the middle of Georgia where it is hot year round and only catch a glimpse of a snow flake every other year. In a place where it is hot 355 days of the year it can be hard not to take the beautiful sunny days for granted. The same is true with access to healthcare and health knowledge in the United States. Just like the hot weather healthcare is easily accessible to the majority of the population year round. Access to health knowledge is at the fingertips of anyone with a smart phone or computer (or access to one a.k.a. pretty much everyone). This is not the case in Ghana. Our clinics have been swarmed with people a lot of whom have never been to the doctor. This is their one access point to any sort of medical care for the entire year. Due to this, the information and test results we have given the patients has been received very seriously. Everyone wants to know if their blood pressure being high is harmful and how it is harmful and what they can do about it. Numbers such as blood pressure I do not feel are given as much weight in the United States. People are given medications for hypertension in the United States but there is no real change in mindset and diet or food intake. People are aware of the problem but choose to somewhat ignore it or do the bare minimum to keep their bodies functioning. I have had the discussion with a couple group members that if we conducted the same sort of preventative health screening in the United States that we do not believe nearly as many people would come. People are not only coming to the screenings but waiting in line at five am to get a spot. Concern and genuine interest to know how to make themselves better has really touched me. Healthcare is cherished and appreciated. The sunshine is never taken for granted in Ghana.

Ashley Adams, Health Promotion University of Georgia 

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