Rather than traveling village to village as we have done previously, we planned three days at one clinic, in the village of Atoklokope. The village has a newly built clinic and is raising money for a labor and delivery building. The clinic is not yet in use, so we were able to use the space to set up tables, chairs, and benches for our work. Our pharmacy was set up outdoors, under a huge mango tree. We learned quickly that the interior office spaces were just too hot for comfort, and everyone moved their tables and chairs outdoors, in the shade of the building or under the trees.
Patients were seated under a canopy until they could be registered and process through the stations we had set up – registration, weighing, vitals, history, testing, evaluation, and pharmacy. It was great having nine volunteers, as it allowed our patients to be seen more quickly than in past missions, and their wait time was less. We had nine Ghana Health Service staff, paired with each of our volunteers for language interpreting and mutual learning.
We worked from around 8am to 3pm with an hour break for a cooked lunch in the shade. Being at the same clinic for all three days made it less stressful in terms of breaking down, packing up meds and supplies, and setting up in a new location every day or two. The downside was not reaching as many people in outlying areas. However, we saw the maximum number of patients we could have possibly treated – we were completely exhausted by the end of each day. Godfried and our volunteer Mike could not have lifted one more box onto the top of the car either!
Below are some data from the mission:
On February 24, 2018 we welcomed our nine volunteers to Ghana. Our volunteer group included five RNs, one nurse practitioner, and three non-medical volunteers. This mission focused on girls and women, and included something new for Healthy Villages, Inc. Since July 2017, over 100 volunteers in Virginia USA gathered together to contribute their time, energy and money to sewing and putting together 600 kits of washable sanitary pads and hygiene products for school girls in poor villages in Ghana. The kits included two moisture-proof panty shields, ten flannel pads, two pair of underwear, a washcloth, enough pain reliever for one period, body wash or soap, and clothespins for hanging the laundered pads. This huge undertaking by the hardworking and dedicated volunteers in the US was rewarded by clapping, calls of “God bless you!”, and remarks such as “this gift will be life changing for me!” by the girls and women who received the kits.