I was originally due to start work in the male internal medicine this week, but instead I chose to pursue my growing interest in Ghanaian public health.
The Public Health Unit of Koforidua Regional Hospital is quite large. They work within divisions, subdivisions, municipalities, and submunicipalities. Though it would take a significant amount of time just to learn the system and spend time in each division, unfortunately for me, I only have about 8 work days. The few divisions I will try to spend time in include Disease Control, Family Planning, Outreach, and Reproductive and Child Health (RCH). I spent my first day (today) in RCH.
From what I’ve experienced at the hospital, privacy is pure luxury, and in most cases there is none. However, the privacy of mothers and mothers-to-be is highly valued in RCH. Rounds on the wards are completely open, with no curtains or doors to keep other patients from hearing about and seeing each others’ medical problems. Conversely, at RCH, only one client is permitted in one room at a time, examinations and discussions are completely private. The nurses and midwives work hard to build trust and confidence with their patients in order to best support them throughout the pregnancy.
A typical visit includes a brief head-to-toe examination, palpation of the fetus, listening to the fetal heartbeat, checking hemoglobin levels (essentially using the color of a few drops of blood), glucose and protein levels in the urine, and correcting any problems. The nurses and midwives have the authority to prescribe basic medications, but they refer patients with more serious medical problems to the hospital.
As always, I am again out of time, but I will have much more to say about the Public Health Unit!