Blog 3 – Days 4 and 5

Day four and five represent the last days spent providing health services at the international mission in Sekondi.  On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week we will move the daily clinical operations about 8 miles out of town to a rural village called Konsu.  If one could imagine, the patients tend to be much sicker.  Although the clinic is set up according to the same model as the one in Sekondi, often fewer patients are seen because of the acute, chronic, and varied health issues they possess.  Unlike Sekondi, a Fante speaking community, many in the community of Konsu are French speaking, therefore the community health workers have to be trilingual (English, Fante, and French).

We could not run the clinic without a steady supply of community health workers, who often spend 8 or more hours per day with us. They are members of the church where is mission is housed, and are completely dedicated to the success of the mission.  Most are in their early 20’s and are students.  They take time off from their school or job to work at this two week mission and do not receive payment for it.  Their dedication to the mission is apparent in all that they do.  This includes interpreting for triage (intake) workers and providers, helping to set up and tear down the clinic, and organizing supplies, keeping order in the wait line, and escorting the students and participants in and around Sekondi/Takoradi in the afternoons.

Jen Lockman, MSW and recent UNE alum, has utilized a community worker in her important case management role that involves daily runs to the chemist (pharmacy) and bank, as all transactions are on a “cash and carry” basis.  Cedis (Ghanaian currency) are used in the clinic to pay for transport of acutely ill patients to the local hospital, their hospital fee, as well as any medications they may need.

Beth DeGarmo and Kate Keller, second year PA students, have transitioned beautifully into supervised provider roles.  They have seen a full compliment of patients of varying developmental ages and health conditions.  Like many provider students who partake in this experience, they have expressed this is a most amazing review in total health assessment as one must rely on their own skills without the technology that western medicine affords us.

Nurses Chelsea Paterson, Laura Seeger, Katie Firth, Kayla Baker, Nancy Thach and Deb Murray have not only served in triage (intake) roles, but have also worked directly alongside providers to help with treatments and medication dispensing.  They are already exhibiting the intuitive skills that great nurses possess, instinctively knowing and predicting what may be asked of them, and offering suggestions that assist the providers.

Hilarie Jones, MSN, APRN is a name we would like to introduce to blog readers.  She is the Ghana Health Mission group leader for this trip.  Her experience as an adult nurse practitioner in an internal medicine practice in central Connecticut and her passion for global health has prepared her to both mentor participants/students and to provide safe and culturally competent health care to the citizens of Sekondi.

4 Responses to “Blog 3 – Days 4 and 5”

  1. Mom & Jerry says:

    Jen as your final days come to an end, we await the stories of this incredible experience. Needless to say we are all very proud of you and the entire UNE team! What a valuable gift you have given. You are sure to have memories you will never forget. Safe travels home!
    Love & God Bless,
    Mom & Jerry

  2. Linda Murphy says:

    How boring our lives are back here. Went to work, came home, made dinner, fed the cats, watched the Red Sox game, went to bed.
    What did you do today? Much more exciting, and life changing things. I am oddly becoming accustomed to saying “Jamie is in Africa” –
    Love you

  3. Joanne Shuey says:

    You look great Miss Amanda!! What a nice picture and what a trip. We didn’t realize that you will be going to a second village.

    Just remember that you are making a big difference in other people’s lives, and they will always remember your group’s kindness to them and the help that you are offering to them.

    The trip for you probably is going by faster than what you would like it to. Enjoy each and every moment for you will never forget this wonderful experience. You will be able to pass this on down to your future family and maybe they will be able to do the same some day.

    Grandpa and I are very, very proud of what you are doing in Africa and in your life. We will look forward to hearing all about your trip!

    Take care and stay safe.

    Love you,
    Grandma, Grandpa & “Rusty The Dog”

  4. Eric, Brooke, Molly & Matthew says:

    I am so proud of you Sis. I would have never thought that my little sister would travel to Africa to help make such a difference in the lives of others. I knew you could do it, but it seemed strange since you are always so close to home. I know that the start of the trip was a little rough and Mom said you were a little homesick, but I hope that you have taken a second to close your eyes and take a deep breath, then open them and look around. You are in an amazing place and doing an amazing thing. Enjoy every second of it.

    I took “Charlie” to the airfield cafe for lunch yesterday. All through lunch and the rest of the afternoon he kept saying “Auntie Em plane” over and over. We will see you when you get home.

    Eric, Brooke, Molly & Matthew

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