This past summer I spent three weeks in Takoradi, Ghana doing a medical elective, and it was amazing!
It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Africa and experience their culture and traditions.
Thankfully, Work the World were able to set up the entire trip with ease. From the months of preparation and planning, all the way to the moment I landed back home in Canada, Work the World were by my side the entire time.
Upon arriving in Takoradi, I was not sure what to expect regarding the living situation. To my surprise, "the big blue house" blew me away.
The Work the World house had many areas for socializing, a big kitchen for snacking and meals, massive bedrooms with attached bathrooms, and it also had enough space to get some privacy when needed. We even had a pool to cool down in after a long day of placement in the African heat.
In the house, we had several team members that made the living experience exceptional. The two in-house chefs made sure that no one was left hungry and even introduced us to many of the traditional local meals.
The program managers were also great to have around. They would check in regularly to ensure the hospital rotations were meeting our expectations and would also give advice when we planned epic weekend excursions.
During my time there, I met so many friends that I will have for the rest of my life!
We would share stories about life back home and talked about how different our healthcare journeys have been.
Being the only Canadian in the house, I loved getting to know students from all over the world. We would share stories about life back home and talked about how different our healthcare journeys have been.
During the week, we would go to the hospital and then head back home for daily pool parties.
On Thursdays, we would have a BBQ feast that always ended in dancing.
On weekends, we would go on adventures to take in the entire Ghana experience. One of our weekends included a road trip to Kakum National Park, where we hiked through the jungle and did a canopy walk above the trees.
Also, on this road trip, we went to Cape Coast Castle, which is a historical landmark that was very informative regarding the tragic history of slavery in Ghana.
Capping this weekend off, we spent time at the beach surfing and playing soccer with some local children.
My other weekend in Ghana included a road trip to Mole National Park, which fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience an African safari.
Overall, I was able to share many memories with my new friends that I will cherish forever!
From a clinical standpoint, I enjoyed my time at the hospital.
this was a great learning experience for me.
It was quite a culture shock to adapt to the medical standards in Ghana, especially regarding sanitation and access to resources. However, this was a great learning experience for me.
It made me realize that I was not there to change their ways or save lives, but instead, I was there to experience how medical practice varies all over the world.
This truly gave me an appreciation of what we have available for healthcare practice in Canada and how privileged we are to provide the standard of care that we do.
As for the skills and knowledge aspect, it is entirely what you make it. The local staff will allow you to be as involved as you would like to be within your scope of practice, and it is on you to take the initiative to decide how much you would like to contribute.
After taking some time to adapt, I was able to participate in daily rounds on the obstetrics and gynecology wards, as well as observe numerous surgical procedures in the theatre.
Overall, my time spent in the hospital was full of highs and lows.
I'll never forget the nurses telling every newborn baby "Welcome to Ghana" right after delivery. But, there were also some extremely emotional times where patients were lost due to complications from pregnancy.
These moments, high and low, are experiences that will help shape me into the physician I aspire to be.
I'm extremely thankful for Work the World and the people of Ghana for making this an experience that I will never forget. I hope to be back soon!