Living in the Work the World house was a great experience. Healthcare professions are interrelated, so being amongst a group of healthcare students in varying fields meant I could learn from everyone around me.
I saw a lot of interesting cases during my dentistry placement. Lots of patients were from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, which meant saving the tooth was rarely an option.
I saw quite a few cases that I had only learned about in textbooks up until this placement. Ludwig's angina and osteomyelitis for example.
That said, the way dentistry was practiced in Takoradi was actually quite similar to back home. One of the lead dentists and his team were knowledgeable, and followed similar protocol in their treatment to what is seen in Canada. This is true from diagnosis, all the way through to treatment planning.
One interesting case I was involved with was a boy who had malaria, sepsis, and mild anemia. He had four molars with hyperplastic polyps that we were unable to save. It was difficult as he was in a poor medical condition, and the general anesthesia wasn’t an option.
After our placements, my housemates and I went off to watch soccer games with some of the locals in the nearby bars. We also went to Market Circle to buy Ghanaian fabric from which we had clothes tailored for ourselves and our families.
At the weekends, we travelled around Ghana. On our first weekend, we visited Cape Coast where we saw an old castle where slaves were sold during the height of the transatlantic slave trade.
We also went to the famous Kakum National Park where we crossed a suspended bridge 40 meters above the ground!
The local people were welcoming. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met nicer people than those I met in Ghana. The country also had wonderful beach resorts too. You can surf, dance, relax, and just generally have a good time.
The other students in the house were strangers at first, but I left Ghana having bonded well with everyone in the house.
Everyone was ready to make new friends, and as I went in with an open mind, I think I set myself up for some great experiences.
It was a surreal experience, but the best 3 weeks I’ve had in a very long time!