26 Jul Exploring Global Health at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana
Posted at 14:26h in West AfricaWritten by Heather Amato, West Africa Global Health. It’s been two weeks now since we arrived in Accra, but with the ground we’ve covered it’s hard to believe we’re still on the first third of our trip. I have to say, I have learned more during our second week in Accra than I expected to learn throughout the entire trip. Slum Dwellers International (SDI). Though it was technically a “developed” slum with standing structures and makeshift electrical systems, I was undoubtedly overwhelmed. By the smell. By the pile of waste in the lagoon at least two stories high. By the way it never ended every which way you looked. After the tour, we sat down with the administrators of the OFDA who all grew up and lived much of their lives in the slum, themselves. They explained how they are in a stalemate with the government, who will not open up a dialogue to discuss the possibilities of developing a sustainable economy and residential area in Old Fadama. Despite the fact that many of the 80,000 people living in the slum were displaced by violence in the upper regions, the government wants to evict them because it’s technically an illegal settlement. The issue that hit home for many of us was that Korle Bu, the largest hospital in West Africa, sits directly next to the slum and yet the residents of Old Fadama don’t have the means to seek treatment there. Despite these grim conditions, we were warmly welcomed by everyone, and even got a taste of fame when we walked into a kindergarten classroom and the kids chanted “Obruni! Obruni!” (foreigner/white person). Health Protection and Environmental Sanitation and their current intern, a former Operation Groundswell volunteer. We even took some time to experience a bit of cultural history and visited the slave castle; an intense experience but a great additional to the already diverse knowledge we’ve gained about Ghana so far. We’ve become closer as a group and these experiences mean so much more because of it – whether it’s singing “I’m a Barbie Girl” on a miserable tro-tro ride, suffering through a gnarly stomach flu or debriefing about a controversial health issue. I’m so grateful to be able to learn and grow with these people. For every down I have, there is always someone to lift me right back up and have me peeing my pants laughing five seconds later. Big love from Ghana!