Day 3 in the International Mission was very busy. We saw 70 patients for various illnesses. The community health workers have been instrumental in the smooth flow of operations although they are exhausted because there is a spiritual revival happening simultaneously in the evening. As a result, the clinic is torn down and set up every day. Needless to say life at the mission is very lively. Patients ranged in age from 2 weeks to 85 years with a multitude of disorders, some of which are specific to developing countries (malaria, worms, etc.) and some that are common in both but well understood by students (ear infections, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension, developmental delays, and more).
Regi Robnett, 3 (occupational therapy) OT students, and 1 nursing student went to observe and provide OT services to the outpatients in the PT clinic with Miss Hanna Napier, PT. We are told that there is only one OT in Ghana, at the military base in Accra. The PTs were eager to teach us and have us help with a variety of patients including those with stroke (several months post as well as a person who seemed to be having a stroke at the PT clinic who was taken to Effia Hospital by taxi – no ambulance service in Sekondi). They also worked with a person with back pain, and a boy with a broken arm that did not heal properly. The students called the experience “amazing.”
Students have verbalized powerful statements with respect to how meaningful this trip has been for them. Many have already talked of fundraising for future trips, now understanding the magnitude of needs. Jen Morton stopped in their room this evening to say hello and found OT students, Malori, Loren, Jamie, Ericka, Amanda, and Vanessa sewing a reduction splint to keep a 5-year old boy’s umbilical hernia in reduction while he awaits his surgical consult, which could take up to a year. The word then got out and they have been asked to sew a second one tomorrow. They used formed splinting material with slits (using a pan of boiling water in the restaurant kitchen), a strip of T-shirt, and Velcro to fit around the abdominal area.
Nurses, Chelsea Patterson, Nancy Thach and HSM student Emily Lambert have dedicated energy to providing meaningful activities (coloring, playing with toys, and games) for children who are waiting for their parents/caregivers to be seen in the clinic.
After the clinic, Magdalena (a local seamstress well known to the mission) came to the measure students/participants and collect the fabric that had been purchased during the previous days. In a matter of one day, she returned 6 articles of clothing, beautifully sewn.