After months of preparation and a twelve hour plane flight, we finally made it to Ghana! Driving us from Accra to Ho on the red dirt roads through lush greenery, Joseph Achana, the cofounder of the HOPE Center and Rotarian, described Ghanaian politics as he pointed out the monkey sanctuary, Volta Lake, and the bridge connecting the Eastern and Volta Regions.
On our first day working at the center we helped Nurse Beauty with the Child Welfare Clinic (CWC). We traveled to a local village, where women had gathered with their children at the home of the community opinion leader. We recorded the weight of the children and compared it to the weights of other children in their age group (yes, Z-scores have some relevance in the real world). Nurse Beauty then administered vitamin A supplements and necessary vaccinations. Each village is visited once a month so that the children’s’ weights can be continually monitored for up to five years.
Back at the Center, Nurse Love tests the majority of the patients for malaria. After patiently listening to one woman describe her symptoms in Ewe and diagnosing malaria using a rapid test, she explained that the bitter taste the patient described was a dead giveaway. However, the disease is extremely common, and so even when children arrive with less telltale symptoms such as fever or diarrhea, malaria tests are generally administered.
In short, we’re in one piece, we’re a little culture-shocked but doing well, we’re fascinated by the HOPE Center, and our voucher at this Internet café is about to expire, so we’ll see you soon!