Before leaving Wa, I met up once again with the Director of Health Services for the Upper West Region…this time for drinks at my guesthouse, which also functions as a conference area and is a popular meeting spot for local health, development, and government officials. I have learned that while a 10 minute meeting in someone’s office can get the job done, it is the hours I spend “unofficially” chatting with health personnel where relationships are solidified. Aside from the benefit to MedPLUS, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to such incredible people who are leaders in Ghana’s health sector! My conversation with Dr. Alexis was no exception. Dr. Alexis was a practicing physician for many years before moving into the public health arena and it was fascinating to hear about his experiences in Ghana and the many countries where he studied and consulted. Moving outside after the restaurant closed for the night, we chatted about our mutual experiences in Beijing, the ethics of life support in Ghana, and what it means to be a physician working with underserved populations. Hand down, one of the best conversations I have ever had!
The bus ride from Wa back down to Accra was another all-day marathon but we managed to miss the worst of traffic and make it to Accra after a quick (?) 12 hours. Although the idea of watching movies on the bus sounds like a nice way to pass the time, the reality of the situation—poorly acted Nigerian movies blasted at full volume, followed by a DVD containing a series of movies that should have been titled “films Steve Martin made but was rightly too embarrassed to show in the United States”—was less than enjoyable. As we reached the outskirts of Accra at just past 4am, it apparently became the appropriate time to switch from Steve Martin’s “excellent” portrayal of a Russian submarine captain and begin blasting rap videos ☺.
On a more serious note, the journey from northern to southern Ghana highlights just how diverse the Ghana is in terms of development (and development challenges).