Today’s clinic can only be described as one that was seamless in every aspect. Despite unrelenting heat and temperamental water flow, our cohort came together to deliver the best care possible to every patient who walked through the doors of the Assemblies of God Church in Sekondi , West Ghana. The community workers (Clifford, James & Felicia) and I joined with nurses Jen S. and Brenda C. to greet patients of all ages at the triage tables. Blood pressures, weight and heights, head circumferences (for the infants and toddlers) were taken and charted; health workers and carers sat side by side, putting together pertinent health histories, determining the patient’s 3 most prevalent symptoms and determining health insurance needs. There were some awkward moments brought about by differences in language and health perceptions, however these seemed easily handled – we all wanted to make things work.
Amazingly those who came for healthcare waited patiently (40+ each day). They sat in hard backed chairs, some dressed in garments handmade from local fabrics, some with babies nursing or wrapped in colorful swathes around their waists, others animatedly talking with old friends who had also come by for advice and treatment.
From triage patients went on to see the providers. Andrew T., wearing his beaded stethoscope and bearing sesame street stickers, saw all the children. Casey T., a med bio student, watched as Dr. Andrew examined the children and comforted their parent(s). Adjoa, a community health worker sat in to assist when translation was needed. Jessica T., a 2009 UNE alum physician’s assistant, saw mostly adults, some with serious medical concerns – others with waist pain or malarial symptoms. Emily D. held court at the pharmacy table with Trisha M. as her accomplice. To say their work was phenomenal is an understatement.
And as always Jennifer M. kept everything running smoothly; from making an early morning pharmacy run, to planning an outing to the Effiankwanta Hospital in Sekondi where we toured and learned about how the caring in health care works miracles when supplies and resources are scarce and the needs are high. The day ended with Augustina’s amazing Ghanaian cuisine and great conversation – seamless.
Shelley Cohen Konrad