As the school year comes to a close, GlobeMed at Northwestern is gearing up to send yet another group of students to visit our partner clinic, the H.O.P.E. Center, in Ho, Ghana. This time, our team will be working specifically on expanding the clinic’s child nutrition program, for which we have received $15,000 in grants and donations to use over the next five years. With such exciting plans for the future, it’s important to take a step back and look at the H.O.P.E. Center’s achievements over the past year.
Since last summer, our two projects, the child nutrition program and adolescent sexual health resource center, have grown both in size and scope. The nutrition program launched its new peer educator component, which trains mothers in the community to plant protein-rich soybean crops and share that knowledge with other mothers in their villages. The peer educators also help nurses monitor child weight, which lessens the burden on the clinic staff. So far, we have peer educators in two villages surrounding the clinic, and hope to expand to eight in the next five years. As for the sexual health program, we have reached out to over 2,000 students in nine secondary schools and trained 100 students to be sex health peer educators at their schools. We’ve also set up condom corners at the local university. The program has been so popular that the H.O.P.E. Center has been asked by several other schools to expand the program to their campuses. Because of the clinic’s remote location, it serves as a discrete facility for STI testing and counseling, and many of the Center’s patients come in for family planning services.
With Ghana’s national health insurance scheme, more people are getting insured and taking advantage of available healthcare resources, and the clinic has consequently seen steady growth in its outpatient department. The H.O.P.E. Center’s diagnostic laboratory has also helped make the clinic more attractive to patients who might otherwise have to visit the district hospital or a private clinic. We’ve made great strides this year in providing quality community healthcare, and look forward to the progress this summer brings. —TIFFANY WONG