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!
(31st 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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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)
“Aunty Erica, carry me!” insisted Nina when I first stepped out into the nursery yesterday morning. Nina is one of the 67 kids that are enrolled in the VWA Nursery School programme. The organization carries out an assessment in the local community of Oshiye to identify children who would most benefit from a safe, clean, and educational environment and then provides them with a headstart into schooling. The nursery has been running for 2 years and also provides healthcare services for the kids and their parents, which are currently being carried out by a nurse from the US, Brooke.
The Healthcare centre that EWB Bath is working on will initially provide services to the kids of the nursery and then expand out to cover all kids in the local community.
An informal interview with Brooke helped us identify the key issues and limitations with healthcare in the Oshiye and Kokrobite, giving us a starting point for our research.
Erica (5th August 2016)
Today, our assistant project manager, Sophie, guided us through the local regions of Kokrobite, Oshiye, Old Barrier, and Greater Accra.
In between trekking, taking shared taxis, and experiencing the local tro-tro, we visited the local clinic in Kokrobite and the Finney private hospital, ending our trip at West Africa’s largest mall, West Hills.
The region is very rural, lacking basic infrastructure such as complete buildings and proper roads, but the people are beyond welcoming. Casual greetings by men strolling down the road and eager waves from the local children brought instant smiles to our faces. Loud groovy reggae and bright, colorful outfits welcomed us on almost every vehicle we got on reminding us that we have landed in vibrant Africa.
Erica (3rd August 2016)