On August 7, 2009, 12 WCHP students and faculty and 3 CAS students will travel to the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi in Ghana, West Africa to participate in a primary health care clinic originally established by Leda McKenry, RN, PhD, FAAN of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Reverend Robert Andoh of the International Mission. This unlikely partnership evolved into Ghana Health mission 14 years ago.
Jennifer Morton, MS, MPH, RN will be joined by Jim Cavanaugh PT, PhD, Brenda Becket, MS, PA-C and Nancy Simpson, MSN, RN from UNE. In addition, 12 students in various health professions programs that include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant and medical biology will comprise the healthcare team. They will work with clients of all ages from the community.
This experience will introduce the students to health care as it is delivered in a developing country while they provide valuable healthcare services and community health education to the people of Sekondi and Takoradi. This type of experience assists students in recognizing and heightening their skills as culturally sensitive health professionals through self reflection prior to, during and after the immersion experience.
Students will participate in activities that include:
- Participation in the delivery of direct patient care
- Community health education as a partnership with community health workers
- Becoming versed in the use of interpreters
There are several other initiatives that will be implemented during the two weeks in Sekondi. Stephanie Bliss (OT ‘09) will run a reading glasses clinic. Past trips have suggested that middle aged Ghanaians in the community have a disrupted ability to accomplish work requiring astute reading vision. As a result Stephanie, through fundraising efforts has collected over 200 pairs of reading glasses for the clinic. She plans to screen participants and suggest an appropriate strength “reader” in an effort foster ease of daily living.
Matt Gravett (PA ’10) has been collecting new and/or gently used children’s books. Although Fante is the spoken language of the community, English is the official language of Ghana and taught to all children who attend school.
Jennifer Morton (Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing) will be implementing a research study. Nsu! A Clean Water Campaign for the People of Sekondi will be implemented in an effort to evaluate a community health education curriculum on the knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding hygiene practices. Laura Beal (Nursing ’09) will serve as Professor Morton’s research assistant for the study.
Grace Perry (Nursing ’09) will facilitate the student blog while in Ghana. She has already been working to introduce readers to the planning of this trip and the participant makeup. We are glad Grace is up for the challenge.
All of the students and faculty have been working hard to collect needed medical supplies for the trip.