Credit goes to Lisa Bowers, RN for this wonderful series of daily diary entries from our medical mission October 2016. I've added a few photos. I hope you enjoy stepping into our world for a little while! If you'd like to experience Ghana while truly helping people in need, join us for a humanitarian mission. Healthy Villages, Inc. will organize every aspect of your mission and make sure you have a meaningful experience!
We all raved about how much better we slept with the breeze from the fans!! We arrived in the village of Agavedzi by 8 am and we were already sweating! There was a clinic in this fishing village that was situated between the ocean and what used to be a large lake. People here we noticeably poorer and more malnourished. And BPs were astronomically high! When we arrived nothing had been set up and only one person was waiting. But our Ghana counterparts arrived and people started moving! While they were setting up (and announcing our arrival in the village) Godfried took us on a tour. We first visited the dried up lake where villagers were mining salt by hand. There were huge piles of salt covered with dried palm fronds. There are miles and miles of this salt mining. We then crossed the road to the other side of the village and walked to the beach. The Atlantic from the other side!!! There were fishermen pulling in long nets which is another big trade of the region. The water and breeze were so refreshing even if we only got our feet wet!
By 9:45 they had rooms cleared out for treating and consulting, and tents for triaging, vitals and testing. We did have flushable toilets here--you become so grateful for the little things!! I only saw one wound this day--a large sore (old burn) that appeared to have been treated with either charcoal or some dark herb). We had 3 positive malaria cases and one probable TB. This obviously ill elderly lady was coughing up blood. She was immediately placed in a room to herself and given a mask and some basic meds. We were trying to arrange for her to get to the hospital for proper testing and treatment but nothing, absolutely nothing, happens quickly in Ghana. We learned the day before that what we thought were ambulances with sirens were only used to pick up dead bodies. There were real ambulances at the hospital an hour away but they don't go out to villages. The only way to get to the hospital if you had no family with a motorbike to take you was to hire a taxi--usually a motorbike. This lady eventually just left and no one (other than us US nurses) were particularly concerned about it.
We tried to stop clinic around 2:30 as the heat was so exhausting but ended up staying until after 3:30. We saw a total of 185 people--just 125 shy of the 500 we were expecting for the whole week. When we got back to the compound we re-inventoried our medicine supply as we were using a lot of the ibuprofen and children's Tylenol. We definitely could have used more of these and peptobismol tablets. Information we will definitely use on the next trip! On a positive note however we had enough medical tape ( thanks to Project Hope) to mark our way back to the states!! These leftover supplies were gratefully received by the village clinics and local hospital.
One of our team members, our spiciest one, Janeas, was not feeling well that evening- coughing a lot and chest hurting. Our PAs started her on antibiotics and ordered fluids and rest. Jalil provided our comic relief for the day after dinner by having us laughing uncontrollably with a tale of his experiences as a NP. Just picture backwoods male, prostate exam and horse sounding cellphone ring tone!!! Oh my we were definitely bonding!