Firstly, apologies for such a late post. Even though there is a lot to write about, like our Cape Coast Trip, last day in VWA and our flight back, this post is dedicated to the meat of one of our projects; the medical report for Oshieye.
On 7th of September, we held a Round-Table discussion between some of the key stakeholders in the Healthcare situation of Oshieye. We were very glad to welcome a member of the Health Directorate, a member of the environmental officer, Development Action Association (DAA), clinic in-charge, volunteers and nurses.
The afternoon began with an address by the VWA Executive Director, Matt, followed by the Healthcare report presentation by EWB, and concluded with a discussion between the present parties.
The discussion was very fruitful, with everyone participating by bringing out comments, questions, concerns, novel ideas and partnership opportunities.
Issues relating the CHPS zone, toilets, waste disposal, and community involvement were tackled through discussion. Some action plans regarding communal cleaning were drafted and some connections between the DAA and CHPS nurses were made. The health Directorate was interested in the information VWA had to offer about the common practices of the Oshieye community, using it to make their plans fit for purpose.
The next plan of action is to complete the Healthcare report by adding the findings from this discussion and emailing it out to all the present parties. This will enable each party to have contact information of each other and tackle the problems stated in the report.
Erica (18th September 2016)
Sanitation Research at VWA with Josh and Peter
With the VWA site re-design work happening in earnest and the delivery of our healthcare report presentation looming it has been full steam ahead for the team here.
We can hardly belive it has been over 4 weeks since Me and Erica first landed in Ghana. We have all been so busy with all the preparations for the round table discussion, meetings with construction tradesmen and design work being done the last weeks are flying by.
Nursery Building Floor Plan Design in CAD
As ever there needs to be some breaks from work to keep a healthy mind! as a group, staff and volunteers, we decided to climb one of the local hills situated right on the coast. The steps were steep but the views from the top were incredible!
Arms out for balence…
Can see all the way into Accra from here!
We are heading to the old colonial capital of Cape Coast this weekend for some R&R before the last week with the whole team. We’ll keep you posted.
Yesterday, our boy turned 22! Alex has been a great team mate, making sure we get work done as well as have fun. Happy Birthday man!
Favorite shot! Caught in action.
(31st August 2016)
It is not all work and no play. The volunteers headed down to Big Milly’s on Saturday night to wind down to some amazing music.
Erica (22nd August 2016)
There is a lot going on! Especially with 2 projects now, the team is doing various things at various different times.
With respect to the medical facility to be built on the VWA compound, the team has completed taking measurements and drawing a 3-D model of the site. Today, we made sketches of possible construction plans keeping funding, cost, needs, and water supply in mind. The team will now move into researching the viable options, sourcing materials to get cost estimations, and drafting specs.
We can almost promise this is a candid
We have first aid kits handy. It’s all good.
In terms of the medical report for the Oshieye community, we’ve been distributing letters and setting up appointments at district and sub district level offices. On Friday we went to the Health Directorate and the Ga South Municipal Assembly to submit the letters and went back to the Municipal assembly today for a meeting. We are now moving into more official research; trying to understand the initiatives the government is taking in the health care
Amidst Ghana traffic
Erica (22nd August 2016)
Yesterday, with the help of Mr. Ottabel, we conducted a focus group discussion with around 35 women of the Oshieye community. The purpose of this discussion was to promote free discussion between the community solely regarding their healthcare and sanitation. In addition, we wanted to understand what the most prevalent medical practices are and collect suggestions on how they can improve their lifestyle.
Peter translating our introduction into Ga for the group
The discussion was a huge success in the sense that the women were very keen on participating and voicing their opinion; so much so that we had to ask them to stop talking on top of each other and raise their hands when they wished to speak!
We eventually got a hang of it
A lot of points were raised and discussed during the hour long forum including children’s low mortality, the lack of sanitation, and the need for education. Women commented on how hard it was for them to approach local clinics due to transportation and consultancy costs, and questioned on how they can renew their health insurance policies. They also agreed on participating in communal labor and suggested that they should sit with the elders of the community to draw out plans of actions.
From the discussion, we understand that when someone in a household falls ill, the women tend to approach herbal medicines and pharmacies before seeking consultation from the local nurses. This leads to misdiagnosis of the illness and can aggravate the problem rapidly. In addition, a lack of knowledge on what facilities are available to them by the government lead to more inadequate medical practices.
The information gathered from this talk and the suggestions provided by the group will be liaised to people on the sub district and district level, as well other health related NGOs functioning in Ghana.
Erica (17th August 2016)
We welcomed Josh on Saturday with a nice day out on the beach and lunch at the favourite Big Milly’s.
He’s still a little jet lagged though
We’ve got news! The depth of the research conducted over the past couple of weeks has indicated that the problems the community faces need to be addressed on an official level with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other NGOs. What started as a mere investigation of Oshieye’s medical needs has ended in an in-depth analysis,branching off to various aspects of the people’s lives that contribute to the lack of proper health and sanitation in the community.
As a result, Matt (VWA Director) and the EWB team has decided to split the project into two; one tackling the medical centre that will be built within the VWA compound to serve as a sick bay for the children in the centre and the other liaising information between the GHS and the community.
Even though this doubles the work, the team is determined to do as much as we can whilst our placement lasts. This week will comprise of measuring around the compound to start designing blue prints for the construction, and holdinh formal talks with the Oshieye community and CHPS nurses to draft our health report.
Erica (15th August 2016)
The past couple of days have been loaded. We are finally holding formal and informal discussions with the locals to identify the key problems with the health care sector. We held talks with the health care volunteer at Oshieye, the nurses at the Kokrobite clinic, and the in charge and nurses of the Bortianor clinic. Data collected from the registries of the 2 clinics were used for statistical analyses and to identify the most prominent causes of admission. Malaria, respiratory tract infection, dermatitis, and gastroenteritis are on the top of the list, with malaria plaguing the lives of more than 60% of the registered cases.
Discussions with the volunteers have helped us identify the key reasons for the poor health and sanitation in the community; the most signficant ones being financial problems, lack of proper waste disposal, inadequate food, and a general lack of education.
We are currently still in our research phase and have not drafted any potential solutions yet, but the community is keen on giving us invaluable opinions and feedback.
In the next few days we will be continuing to meet with people on the district, sub-district, and community level to get a better picture of the situation.
Meeting with Mr. Ottabell (community health volunteer)
Data collection from Bortianor with Mary (nurse)
Credits to Peter for all the candids
This is Peter!
Erica (11th August 2016)
Following a meeting with Inousah, our project manager, and Matt, the director of VWA, we have drafted and started working on a plan of action for our 6 week placement.
The first step is to identify the most significant health issues in the Oshieye community and understand the challenges people face with access to proper medical services. We will also interview officials on the district and sub-district level to enquire how they are working towards developing their system and ensuring low-income families get proper medical attention.
Information from the surveys and interviews will be analysed to identify ways in which VWA can enhance the function of the Ghana Health Service and best help the local community access proper medical care.
Once a solution is agreed upon, we will propose 3 options for the type of infrastructure required for the service. And finally, based on the sustainability, cost effectiveness, and feasibility of the 3 options, we will choose the optimal design to write a proposal on. This proposal will then be used by VWA to find funding and sponsorship for the project.
So far, Alex and I have drafted the questionnaires for the community, local clinics, and district offices. Upon approval, we will start setting up appointments with officials and head out into Oshieye to start our research.
Erica (8th August 2016)