After an AMAZING 21st Birthday Weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to do what I was told would not be possible in Ghana – shadow a physiotherapist (the Ghanaian way to write physical therapist).
I was initially told that as an aspiring PT, the closest I could get to exploring any aspect of the profession in Ghana would be doing research about rehabilitation, so I decided to do just that. So far I have had the opportunity to interview 2 doctors at the University of Cape Coast Hospital and 1 herbalist, Dr. Kwabena Sammy, at a traditional herbal clinic, and it wasn’t until I was shadowing Dr. James Prah at the University Hospital that I was informed that a physical therapy department existed at the Central Regional Hospital. I was eager to contact them, and with the help of Auntie Ann, I was able to do so quickly.
I was so surprised that my experience today was so hands-on. I was allowed to move equipment, supervise and help patients. There was one occasion in which Dr. Albert Acquah, the PT, needed to move onto another patient and told me to be 120% careful and then left me to balance a 1 year old on a large ball. The child was having difficulties learning to walk, so we did strengthening exercises for his back and extensor muscles so that his ability to balance would improve. Olivia and I were also very surprised that another American student from Nebraska, Mary, was allowed to consult, diagnose and treat patients after only completing 2 years of college. I was actually kind of jealous that she was already doing so much with the patients…(sigh)…one day, I will too. ☺ Other than the ability of non-licensed individuals to work directly with patients, the PT department did not differ extremely from an American one. The only other difference I noticed was that Ghanaian PT patients, especially those who have suffered from a serious accident or condition such as a stroke, bring lots of families members to help and support them. It was not uncommon for one patient to have 3 family members in the rehab gym with them. The PT department is busy from about 8:30-1:30, so Olivia and I headed to Coto Caraba afterwards. It’s amazing how quickly money can be spent at the market!
Tomorrow we will head out for class at our usual 8:30 and afterwards I will head to another herbal clinic to observe and interview another traditional herbalist.
Peace, Love and Red Red,
“Happily Fulfilled” bka Ashley