Ghana Blog: Our Time in TQMH

July 6th, 2017

To me, this week has flown by faster than any other week we’ve had in Ghana so far. Ghana’s Republic Day is on July 1st, but since that fell on a Saturday this year, they moved the celebration day to Monday so people could have a break. Even most of the hospital departments were shut down for the celebration. This worked out great for our group because this whole trip we had wanted to have a beach day, but hadn’t yet found the time.

The rest of the week was dedicated to working in Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Accra. In one of the health screenings last week in Mampong, we met a woman named Josephine. Josephine is a local midwife who came to help us run our clinic. She works at Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital, which is only a 10-minute taxi ride from where we are staying in Mampong. We all loved working with and learning from her that day. Annie is in the process of applying to midwifery programs back in the United States, so she asked Josephine is she could come shadow her this week one day. When I heard about these plans, I was also very interested and joined Annie.

So instead of going to the children’s hospital today, Annie and I separated from the group to go visit Josephine at Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital. The hospital was not what I was expecting at all. After seeing PML children’s hospital in Accra yesterday, I thought this hospital would be a similar, if not a less developed, facility. Instead, it was very well organized, had large departments (on four different floors and multiple different buildings), air conditioning, and seemed well staffed. First when we arrived, Josephine gave us a tour of the hospital. We saw the diabetic clinic, eye clinic, pharmacy, female and male wards, the public health education and antenatal center, family planning, surgical theaters, maternity ward, labor and delivery room, post-neonatal room, pediatrics, retro (HIV) clinic, emergency, and the gynecologic consulting room where Josephine herself mostly works.

We stayed and observed Josephine working with patients for the first part of the day. Then, we went to the antenatal consulting rooms and observed check-ups for pregnant women. It was so interesting to watch how they treat women, and especially how they handle the different disease threats women are prone to here. Every woman was given malaria prevention medicine, and many were tested for malaria if they showed any symptoms. Vitamins and other supplements were also given to every patient. I was able to palpitate stomachs to feel for the baby’s body parts and measure the length of the mother’s fundus to the pubic symphysis. I also got to listen to the fetal heartbeat through a fetal scope. After spending time in that department, Annie and I went to the post-neonatal ward. Here, we met the new mothers and their babies, and we shadowed the nurses on duty. We learned so much spending time there, and we got the chance to get to know one patient very well. She got our contact information and hopes to stay in touch. We met many nurses, doctors, and physician assistants throughout the day today. One OB/GYN doctor we met told Annie and I that we could come back next Wednesday and scrub in with him for his surgeries that day. We both had a great experience today, and look forward to another visit to Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital. 

--Emily

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