Teaching Homeopathy and midwifery in Ghana

Posted on Posted in All, Project News, Training, Volunteering

Glenis Paulette

[singlepic id=119 w=320 h=240 float=left]Fortunately I had already had a chance to acclimatise to African weather as I had joined my husband in Cote D’Ivoire 2 weeks before travelling to Ghana. He is working in Abidjan as a Football Manager and I had taken the plunge to rent out our home and come and live with him. Knowing that this was my plan, I contacted the British organisers of The Ghana Homeopathy Project, so I could volunteer my services teaching homeopathy to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA’s), midwives and students, and familiarize myself with prescribing homeopathic remedies in an African context. There is no similar organisation in Cote D’Ivoire that I am aware of and the fact that they speak English in Ghana has the added bonus for me. I am both a midwife and homeopath of 25 years experience, and worked in a private midwifery practice in London for 7 years integrating these skills. I was keen to share my knowledge and also to learn from the people of Ghana what their midwifery and health challenges are and how they have overcome them, hoping to also be able to apply my newfound knowledge on my return to Abidjan.

My first work placement was at Mafi Seva, the village setting in the lower Volta region where Ghana Homeopathic project has been active for the last 10 years. While I was there I liaised with the local TBA’s doing antenatal visits together with them. I worked together with Emperor their resident homeopath, to doing between 5 and 10 homeopathic consultations most days, and assisted at 2 births. The first was a woman having her 4th baby. She had given birth to the other 3 at home with the support of her mother, but as she was away this time she decided to come to the clinic. Although contracting regularly, Horlali, the resident TBA, assessed her to be in early labour. As I was about to have a shower when this woman arrived, she suggested I should go and have it as she would not have the baby for a while. I was away for about half an hour and when I returned I was greeted with the sound of a baby crying before I opened the door. Horlali dried the baby and placed her on her mother’s abdomen. I gave the mother a dose of Arnica 30c, immediately after birth, as is my routine in the UK. The placenta was delivered by the mother about 20 minutes later after.

The second birth I was at happened later that night. It was a 2nd baby. Once again it was a straightforward birth. During her 2nd stage the woman’s contractions slowed down to every 10 minutes. She was not coached to push and I was starting to wonder if she was really in 2nd stage. I gave her a dose of Caulophyllum 200c and she pushed her baby out easily a few minutes later, during one contraction. Don’t know if I can take any credit for that though.

While at Mafi Seva I also had the opportunity to meet a group of very experienced TBA’s. Many had more than 30 years experience. My main objective was to teach them some basic homeopathy because they believed it would a valuable tool working in isolated communities. It was a challenge for me as they were illiterate and spoke little English so I was working with an interpreter. I had produced graphic representations of the remedies, and tried to act out some scenarios where they might be used. In consultation with the Emperor we decided to teach them about three remedies to start with. Those we choose were Arnica, Sepia and Carbo Veg. Each TBA was given vials of the chosen remedies to take with them. Arnica and Sepia tackle the issue of haemorrhage after birth, which they identified as one of their main issues, and Carbo Veg helps with resuscitation of the newborn. We decided on Sepia as many of the women in that community spent their lives working hard on their farms and had birthed several babies. I would have liked to give them some Caulophyllum too, but it was decided not to give them too much new information to absorb at one time. I have been asked to return, and look forward teaching them more remedies in the future.

Mum with 2nd baby and tba horlaliI am also an acupuncturist and gave a few treatments to local people including Emperor, mostly for problems with sore backs and extremeties. Gradually it was becoming know that I also did acupuncture and each day I had more people asking for it.

I gave talks introducing homeopathy to a group of midwives and nurses working in a hospital in Accra, and a group of Independent midwives working in Ho a town north of Accra. I also enjoyed spending 2 days with the students at the Premier School of Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine in Accra, as I was able to work with them on a deeper level.

I have had some feedback from Emperor about some of the homeopathic cases we saw together, so would like to briefly share some of our successful cases with you.

Case 1 – 40 year old single male who is a habitual drinker. His problem started 2 weeks ago after getting drunk. The following day he had a delusion that the Fetish priest came and hit him with a stick and ‘made him’ walk 3 kilometres to the fetish shrine for treatment, which was unsuccessful. Originally he had dreams of spirits and monsters who argued with him; now he no longer sees them but still hears them every time he falls to sleep. He often wakes up with a start in fear. Because he sees ghosts, hears voices and talks with spirits, was probably suffering from Delerium Tremens and was waking as if from fright, we decided that the best indicated remedy was Stramonium. He was given it in 1m potency and after 2 doses was once again back to normal.

Case 2 – 1 year old female, with large pustules on her face and head for past 2 weeks. The pus was white and bloody. They were also very itchy. She was crying a lot and not sleeping well. They cleared up completely with a few doses of Calc Sulph 30c.

Case 3 – 5 year old boy who had been suffering from constant involuntary dribbling of urine with frequent urge to urinate for the past week. He was also constipated. He was much improved after 2 doses of Causticum 30c.

Case 4 – 80 year old man who presented in the evening, unable to pass urine since early morning. After several doses of Solidago Virga 30c he was able to urinate normally again.

Case 5 – 23 year old single woman. For 3 years she has had itching skin all over her body. < head, face and vagina. Her skin looks rough and grainy but there is no rash. < cold, scratching, bathing. She has white leuchorea which is very itchy. Remedy Rhus Tox 200c 3 times daily. Since then her skin is now 100% OK. Her vaginal discharge improved then returned. Psychologically she is depressed, angry, disappointed and homesick, so Emperor has given her Nat Mur 200c as a 2nd prescription.

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