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Meeting with Health NGOs in Accra, Ghana

Written by Sarindi Aryasinghe and Kali Burnell, 2014 West Africa: Global Health Program Leaders.

During our stay in Accra, we were staying with Mama Tina and her family by Danquah Circle, Osu. Everyone was more than happy about the running shower, the close Internet cafés, and the busy local vibe. Our adventure started with a visit to Korle Bu, the largest teaching hospital in West Africa. It was a life-changing visit as we witnessed the lack of supplies and the number of emergencies.

Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
After our tour, we attended a meeting with the National AIDS Control Program, where we learned about all the preventative measures being taken as well as in-country progress. Our night ended with a food hunt, where we tried for the first time some of the local dishes: fufu, banku, rice balls, and waakye. We ate traditionally around a table and ate with our right hands.

Old FadamaThe next day we visited Old Fadama, the largest slum in Ghana. This proved to be an emotional experience for all of us as we had the privilege to talk to some of the Kayayei women working around Old Fadama and hear their stories through the Kayayei Youth Association. The Kayayei Youth Association is a non-profit organization working in Old Fadama that aims to provide the necessary resources for the safety and well-being of Kayayeis, which are women working in markets as porters. They work with nearby hospitals and community health nurses to provide family planning services and other medical support that is necessary for the well-being of the women.

That night we had the opportunity to talk candidly with Comfort Bawah, a senior nurse working at the National Cardiothoracic Unit at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. We were able to hear how and why she decided to become a nurse, and what drove her to come to work everyday and take care of her patients. She also talked about many of the obstacles that health professionals faced working in Ghana, and how she envisioned Ghana’s healthcare system progress into the future.

Saturday was our last day in Accra, and it certainly was relaxing. We slept in, strolled around the city, and came home to prepare a traditional meal with Mama Tina’s family. After a delicious meal of eggs stew with yams and red red (a bean dish served with stew and plantains), we all got dressed up for a night of dancing.

So far our adventure has been a blast! We have experienced so much in so little time. We are all stoked to see what else OG has in store for us!

Until next time,
Hugs and kisses from Ghana

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