Today was the kind of day that makes every minute spent totaliing financial information for tax forms, arguing with customs officials, and getting by on a small salary, 110% worth it!!
I traveled to the town of Walewale, home of the Walewale District Hospital, which was the most recent recipient of a MedPLUS Connect shipment.
The Medical Director of the Walewale District Hospital is an incredible physician who has become a close friend and an important part of my decision to attend medical school.
Although the shipment had arrived just two weeks earlier, all 28 hospital beds and mattresses had been transported to the various wards. In the children’s ward, beds now occupy a side corridor where patients previously had to lie on the ground during the rainy season when malaria is especially widespread. In the operating theatre, patients now have a bed to recovery on post-surgery.
It was many of the items that I would have passed over before starting to work in Ghana—filing cabinets, bedside tables, doctors stools—that the nurses excitedly pointed out as huge assets to the daily functioning of the hospital.
Throughout the development of MedPLUS Connect, one of my personal fears has been that the medical supplies and equipment that we send ends up collecting dust in a storeroom. My experience with past shipments, and again with Walewale today, reaffirms that carts are being stocked with gloves and gauze, boxes of surgical drapes are open and ready in the operating theatre, and items that may be in excess of the hospital’s need are being cataloged and transported to community health centers in the surrounding villages.
The hospital officials had already been in contact with the Ministry of Health and the local government about the receipt of the supplies and equipment—building a form of continuity and accountability that would be impossible to externally construct. When the doctor was called back to attend to a hernia surgery, I traveled with the hospital’s head administrator, accountant, and matron to meet with the District Chief Deputy and District Chief Executive (heads of local government) for lots of hand shaking, thank yous, photos, and discuss of future partnership.
Then, back to Bolgatanga to join in the Valentine’s Day festivities. Any excuse to party is seen as a good thing in Ghana ☺ !