From our outgoing co-ordinator
Jacqueline A. Smith
I would like to begin this report by thanking the trustees for their support in agreeing to sponsor me to make this trip. It was important not only for the review of exam results as proposed but as a necessary completion and consolidation of relationships made and developed over my three years as coordinator. There was disappointment and sadness about my decision to resign by many in Ghana but the opportunity to reduce anxiety and reassure people was invaluable on both a personal level and professionally on behalf of the project. It was an ‘Au revoir’ rather than a ‘Goodbye’.
I began my first week in Kumasi city and joined Lyn at the Marigold Lodge where over the five days, I observed several 3-4th year students taking cases and when requested, offering questions or pointers where appropriate. The Kumasi students are showing developing case-taking skills as they move into their final year of study and remain engaged with the teaching offered by Lyn and supported by me while there. The recent fast track CC group were also well engaged with their lessons, being very inquisitive and which was reflected in their performance at exam in mid December.
I arrived on the tro tro at Mafi Kumase in my second week to a warm welcome from Emperor, Precious, Eli and Anita. Here I also finally met the newest GHP volunteer Louise, who was feeling very at home with the rhythm of HHHC, having been there for some weeks already and reportedly loving the environment.
Much has changed at the clinic by way of improvements to the building inside and out. The block housing the flushing toilet, shower (with overhead pipe) and kitchen is completed and has external lighting. Lino has been laid on most floors and fans on most ceilings in the central accommodation building. With a three-piece suite and colour TV, the main ‘lecture room’ is very homely and well used even when no lectures are taking place.
The ceremony to award the Course Completion certificates was held the day after I arrived and we had a great time acknowledging the students’ excellent performances in the September exam followed by the hard work of Anita and Precious; to prepare, cook and serve the delicious meal of kenke, which was very much appreciated. We also made sure to celebrate with much reggae dancing until after 7pm.
Clinics were as usual every day from around 7am until early afternoon. Louise dealt with returns for previous patients seen in the weeks before I arrived and I then dealt with new patients. We did observe some of each other’s cases. I noticed a greater than ever before incidence of cases of fever. Perhaps that time of year being the rainy season contributed, with much of the rain occurring before I came. Already the Harmattan was beginning, the air misted with sand and dryness of eyes and skin apparent.
My final week was spent in Accra, primarily at PISHAM where I again seen many external improvements (shown in Louise’s emailed photos from November.) Julius was friendly and accommodating and apparently busy with the clinic. A few patients were seen on at least two of my three days there. Three 2nd year students were present for the predominantly exam revision sessions: Cynthia (heavily pregnant), Edem and Samuel (fast tracked to 2nd year based on previous experience as a cardio-massage therapist)
We covered translating the patients’ symptoms into the language of the repertory.
I advised investing in a Thesaurus to aid this important process and to be very observant of patient mannerisms, tone of voice and specific descriptions of symptoms.
We also discussed the significance of hierarchy of importance attributed to specific symptoms being considered for repertorisation and prescription choice and reviewed the definitions of each. We did various T/F and multiple-choice quizzes based on the CC exam papers to test and review their general knowledge of philosophy and materia medica.
I spent the day before leaving, with a visit to Amanfrom in Kasoa. I met with Phillips, Mr. Emmanuel, the lab technician and nurse before Noble arrived. I was very impressed with the changes and development that have happened with the building since I was last in Kasoa. There is now a lab, consulting rooms, ward with 5/6 beds, pharmacy and space for teaching rooms on the upper floors. There are even 20 new student all-in-one desk/chairs. All the floors and tiling are completed and a new main entrance created. Outstanding completion is still required to provide windows and doors on the 1st floor; toilet bowls to be installed and painting throughout, but particularly on the 1st floor. There is now a beautiful garden space at the back of the building.
I see so much potential in Phillips’s creation and development of the building. He is clearly committed to advancing Homeopathy in Ghana and ably supported by Noble who is willing to teach the Materia Medica sections of the Certificate course, having some experience after supporting me with monthly teaching visits to Mafi Kumase following webinars. They are very keen to get started advertising the proposed CC course and I helped design/edit their existing poster draft while there. I would encourage support and investment here as a valuable resource for advancement of the HIA charities objects. Especially where there is such innovation, enthusiasm and commitment as is very evident at Kasoa.