Sheila Ryan interviews Emperor on his project of a new clinic building in Mafi Kumase.
An Exciting Future for GHP
Since taking on her role as Project Co-ordinator, Jacqueline Smith has spent much of her time in Ghana and shares her ‘on the ground’ perspective
Over the first year of my involvement in GHP I’ve seen some exciting advances in the activities undertaken by and for all involved with the Project. We’ve been reviewing organisational needs with plans to expand support in line with the GHP mission. All of this is possible only with the much valued contributions from our donors and supporters. At PISHAM the student body, while still growing, is beginning to reflect the quality of the curriculum offered. Young people representing not only Ghana and other African countries such as Nigeria and even from the United Kingdom, now choose to learn homeopathy at the School.
This year two of the present Ghanaian students, third-year student Lionel ‘Noble’ Kpogo and second year Kenneth Bedu won the chance to travel to India for two weeks to study with our associates of long standing, the Drs Bhattacharyya. The An Award, which has been running for three years and is sponsored by Belgian homeopath Dr An Debsyer, has become a sought after opportunity for students to prove their commitment to learning and practice in their own communities. They do this by incorporating the outstanding teaching and experience that they receive in Kolkata into their own practice, in the projects they submit to qualify and in sharing their experience with fellow students on their return. A trip brilliantly organised once again by GHP’s Angie Metzger.
They were accompanied by Rebecca Sturgeon, a mentor on the recently initiated Webinar course in Kumasi with Kumasi Homeopathy Study Group (KHSG). This course is another piece of inspired organisation, this time from its founder Bonsu Boaten and GHP’s Lyn Clark.
The keen and committed students here, including teachers and nurses, are now nervously preparing for their end of first year exams. Trustees, international teaching staff and mentors all wish them and the PISHAM students good luck.
Emperor, director at Mafi Seva Water and Homeopathy Project, also participated on the Indian Study trip (for the fourth time) before returning to continue, quite literally, building his vision of a centre of excellence for homeopathic training.
After ten years of his own homeopathic study and intense practice in the Volta region, Emperor strongly wishes to leave a legacy of access to the continuing study and practice of homeopathy for future generations of local people. Like PISHAM in Accra, and now KHSG in Kumasi city, the centre in Mafi Kumase will work towards providing a four-year Diploma course in Homeopathy with student clinic and library and provision of outreach treatment. The six-room building has just had its roof added.
Immense gratitude is due to all concerned for providing regular contributions of books, remedies, support, skills, experience and, crucially, finance; for this is what keeps those fires of inspiration burning and I’m honoured to have been invited to join and contribute to this exciting journey.
The future is bright with GHP
By Bonsu Boaten, Kumasi Homeopathy Study Group Founder and Manager of Resource Centre
It has been seven years since the Ghana Homeopathy Project started supporting us in Kumasi. We have come a long way since our first clinic on the 20th of June 2008 when Mel Duprés was our first visiting homeopath.
Since then we had a full time clinic for a year (about to be resurrected), homeopathic visitors from as far afield as India, USA, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Israel, Australia, not to mention the UK, just to name a few.
The vision from the start was to train the next generation of homeopathic practitioners to serve the needs of the people in and around Kumasi. We are well on our way to achieving that dream.
Our focus in Kumasi over the year has been the successful adoption of the Introduction to Homeopathy Course put together by Homeopathy for Health in Africa. With just a little over a month left to complete our first year of what is to be a four year training programme, students, tutors and mentors are very satisfied with what we have been able to achieve this year and our sincere gratitude goes out to the many people who have contributed in many diverse ways to make it all possible, especially to Lyn Clark, The GHP Kumasi Coordinator. We have been fortunate to have had a number of visits from inspirational and experienced homoeopaths such as Linda Shannon, Lyn Clark, Jacqueline Smith and Julian Jonas and we are looking forward to more from the experienced team of international homeopathy teachers lined up to grace us here in Kumasi before the end of the year.
We have been able to leverage modern communication technology to bring a truly international team of teachers and mentors together with webinars and Skype mentoring.
Over the past few years we have received well over 500 books. Previously we had a selection of the best titles on display and available for borrowing but we have found a larger space and are proud to have all our books out on display as of July 2015. Now we are truly spoilt for choice.
Recently we were also able to get an inter -Ghana exchange going with Emperor Tsamenyi, who runs the clinic at Mafi Seva, making the trip to Kumasi. He shared much with us of his experiences using homeopathy in the Ghanaian set up. It was like a visit from our big brother and we are making plans to return his visit in the near future.
On the 15th May 1817 Thomas Edward Bowdich was the first Englishman to enter Kumasi. I find it very interesting that almost two hundred years later a great homeopathic legacy is being put in place by those who have followed in his footsteps.
10 years on!
An overview by GHP Founder and Mentor Linda Shannon – August 2015
The Ghana Homeopathy Project is now 10 years old and we are realising that another 10 years will probably be needed for our work to become fully self-sustaining!
It has been exciting to watch the project gradually emerge over the years to form our present structure. We now have three independent training centres in Ghana, each uniquely shaped by the interests, enthusiasm and vision of the people involved in Ghana, the UK and internationally.
In Mafi Seva village, Emperor Tsamenyi, now a well-trained and experienced homeopath (also director of a Primary Health Care Centre and effective Clean Water Project) is in the process of realising his vision of building a dedicated centre for village based homeopathic learning and treatment. Villagers arrive at Emperor’s present clinic in a steady stream to seek homeopathic treatment, usually on the recommendation of a friend or relative.
In Kasoa, just outside Accra, the Premier International School of Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine runs a 2-year Certificate and a 4-year Diploma of training in Homeopathy. It was a joy to meet the PISHAM students again on my last visit and see how they had grown in their clinical understanding and experience. A new training clinic has been opened in a deprived district of Accra, an area affected by the recent fire and flood that claimed many lives.
New course in Kumasi
Very exciting is the launch of a one-off 4-year course in Kumasi – the vision of our Ghana partner Bonsu Boaten and UK based homeopath Lyn Clark – to train local people by means of both face to face teaching and via internet-based learning. To run regular Webinars in a country where it is ‘lights off’ (no electricity) almost a third of the time is no mean achievement. Each student has a UK mentor and the clinics are offering homeopathy at low cost. The Webinars have been a big breakthrough in our ability to transfer the knowledge of homeopathy.
We have been able to send six volunteer homeopaths to Ghana and to continue our program of training courses in Kolkata, with the Drs Bhattacharyya.
We have sent three shipments of homeopathic books and remedies to Ghana over the last year, enough to give the essential textbooks to our students and to create substantial libraries in each of the three centres.
As a Project, we are committed to research and monitoring the effectiveness of our work. Thanks to a grant from the Homeopathic Research Institute, we are conducting a study into the efficacy of homeopathy for the mental health and well being of our clients based at Mafi Seva clinic. The first stage is coming to an end now, so analysis can begin and the research evaluation proper can commence in a few months time.
This has been a year of both consolidation and expansion. Our team has gained tremendously in capacity. We have two new committed members: Jacqueline Smith as Project Coordinator based in Ghana, and Lyn Clark as Kumasi Co-coordinator. Some of the Ghana students are taking a more active role as well. Hundreds of people, many experiencing financial hardship and inadequate health care, have benefitted from homeopathic treatment from professionally trained homeopaths.
Are we succeeding in the goal of helping homeopathy to take root in Ghana with all the benefits it brings to enhance health care options for people in need?
After a decade of hard work, sharing our passion for homeopathy with our Ghana partners, I can confidently answer yes.
Our vision for the next ten years is to make the Project fully self-sustaining and Ghana led. We will then have a complete and equal exchange of homeopathic knowledge and Ghana will be an emerging presence on the map of countries where homeopathy is an established health care option for its people.
In July Jacqueline Smith won a grant from the the Manchester Homeopathic Clinic to attend the HRI conference and GHP helped to fund her travel costs, as it was seen as directly relevant to our ongoing pilot and future mental health research in Ghana.
As GHP Coordinator I appreciated the chance to meet, for the first time, individuals from other homeopathy projects in Africa and representatives from key homeopathic organisations such as EECH and the British Homeopathic Association. The studies presented ranged from mental health and malaria to respiratory tract infections and cancer. There were papers on the ethics of conducting homeopathic research and provings (homeopathic pathogenetic trials) and also on laboratory based trials involving the use of animals – I chose not to attend the latter but results were made available in plenary sessions on the last day.
Most of the trials presented appeared to show statistically significant results. The closing presentation was by fellow Glaswegian and well-respected researcher Robert T. Mathie who, with colleagues, had completed a meta-analysis of available homeopathic research up to 2013. He reported their validity as generally poor and encouraged more stringent adherence to protocols and validity measures. He stated that the best research to undertake for the purposes of credibility on homeopathic terms were Random Controlled Trials of individualised homeopathic medicines.
Petter Viksveen of the University of Sheffield presented the results of such a trial – Homeopathy in Self-reported Depression: a pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. Results were statistically significant in those accepting the offer of homeopathic treatment in addition to their usual care alone. Outcome measures used were the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder( GAD-7), with results being measured at 6 and 12 months.
Interestingly, but not surprising, the most prescribed remedies were Nat Mur and Ignatia; with potencies of 30c and 200c used most often.
My thanks to MHC and GHP for enabling me to attend this conference.
People are realizing that homeopathy has much to offer in Africa
The story of the Mission School of Medicine, which is unrelated to Ghana Homeopathy Project, is inspiring and encouraging to those of us who strive to do something concrete for health in Africa through the medium of Homeopathy.
by Julian Jonas
Night had already fallen when the motorcycle slowly puttered up to the clinic. It was during the periodic “lights out” that beset the village every 72 hours or thereabouts, so electricity had been shut down until dawn. I would learn that patients often arrived at the clinic in this manner, sandwiched between the driver and someone riding shotgun who kept them upright. The patient, a lean middle-aged man, was already lying on a simple mattress on the concrete floor. When I asked Emperor what the problem was, he told me it appeared to be an acute hernia. “He’s been here before for the same thing. People come here all the time with hernias. Farmers, labourers – they work very hard. I give them a remedy and it usually works very well. They prefer it to surgery – which, at any rate, they can’t afford. Give him 20 minutes, you’ll see”. At some point in the night, long after I retired, he apparently was brought back home. The next morning after breakfast as Emperor and I were seeing a patient, a man casually sauntered up and sat down. When we had finished, Emperor turned to me and said, “You see?” I replied, “See what?” “This is the man from last night, the man with the hernia…” There was that grin again. “He has come to thank us… Says he’s fine.” The man flashed me a broad smile as well, said a few words and went on his way. In Ghana people do not always have ready access to doctors and hospitals.
Emperor’s given name is Samuel Komla Tsamenyi. He is the clinic manager and lead homeopath at the clinic in Mafi Seva and has a background in water engineering as the project manager of a water project in the Volta Region of Ghana. Fifteen years or so earlier, an India-based philanthropic organization had sponsored the project to bring water to a region where people were needing to spend a good portion of their day walking long distances to and from a single watering hole which did not have clean water. Dracunculiasis was endemic, a particularly unpleasant waterborne parasite, better known as Guinea Worm. As part of the clean water project a rural medical clinic was established with a few nurses, midwifes and outreach workers. Several years into the project Linda Shannon, a visiting homeopath from England, suggested that it would be a wonderful idea to make homeopathy available at the clinic. And so, the Ghana Homeopathy Project was born.
Homeopaths – mostly British – volunteered to travel to Ghana, treat the villagers as well as teach at a small school established in the capital city of Accra. Emperor originally was enlisted as a translator, but seeing the efficacy of these tiny white pills he quickly became enamoured with the idea of becoming a homeopath himself. Over the years he has become a very good one, with the broad range of experience that one might expect from treating medically underserved African villagers. Africa is something of a new frontier for homeopathy. Aside from Ghana there are clinical and educational projects underway in a number of countries including Kenya, Botswana, Swaziland, and Tanzania. Here, a low-tech, inexpensive, effective and gentle medical modality such as homeopathy seems to be a perfect fit.
Before heading off to Ghana I was given the impression from past volunteers with whom I spoke that most of the cases in the village clinic of Mafi Seva would be relatively simple ones of acute illness or injuries. This turned out to be not entirely accurate. Emperor does treat chronic cases and has become especially adept at finding out the emotional aspects of each as, as well as unearthing the causes. Homeopathy treats people and not diseases – each person is a unique individual with a history.
The cases were simple in the sense that they were fairly straightforward. Unlike my own practice where many patients have chronic degenerative diseases, autoimmune illness or complex mental states often complicated by medical and dental interventions as well as multiple prescriptions, the people I saw in the village presented with conditions and histories that were less involved. There were fewer strands and influences to untangle, and, overall, responses to the remedies seemed to be more immediate.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of the people I treated presented with problems that were of a chronic nature. Even the injury cases stemmed from incidents years or decades earlier, or involved structural issues as a result of repeated strain, lifting and carrying. Like most rural areas in the undeveloped world, the labours of farming, construction and other chores of life are not mechanized. There is a great deal of physical stress placed on their bodies. The women also have the additional effects of bearing and giving birth to large numbers of children.
Ghanaian villagers, again especially the women, are remarkably skilled at carrying things on their heads like large trays bearing piles of cassava root or a substantial piece of luggage. It is not unusual to spot a schoolgirl walk home in the afternoon with her books on her head. But years of such burdens can take a toll.
More to the point, the perception that the cases were simple was probably more a reflection of how the practitioner worked than of the patient. Given the opportunity and inclination to understand the full symptom picture along with the accompanying physical and mental states, as well as explore the medical and personal life history, one finds a fair amount of complexity indeed. Put more succinctly, you get what you are looking for.
With the case of an older woman who complained of palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and general fatigue, on examination her blood pressure and pulse were fairly normal but a careful history revealed that the onset of her complaints was synchronous with the death of one of her adult children a number of years before. In fact, within a period of several years, she had lost three of her children.
She was a reserved, serious person, loath to complain or share with others the burden of her losses. Thinking of her children always aggravated her symptoms, but she would only allow herself tears when alone.
Although there was a significant cardiac component, this was clearly a case of what is listed in the Repertory as ‘ailments from grief’. More specifically, it was a case of ‘prolonged and unresolved ailments from grief’. Based on this rubric as well as a few others related to her general demeanour and general physical symptoms, she was given a dose of the remedy that most closely fitted this picture. Due to the short length of my stay in the village I was not able to have any follow-up on these patients. But I felt confident that they were given deep acting remedies that addressed the underlying causes of their complaints.
One hot and slow afternoon at the clinic in Mafi Seva, a taxi drove up with an old woman accompanied by three of her adult children. While she lay sprawled out in the back seat, the children got out and approached us to ask if it might be possible to treat their mother.
They explained that while walking in the fields about three years earlier, she had experienced a sharp pricking pain on the tip of the large toe of her left foot. It had immediately become quite inflamed, and she went to the hospital for treatment. The inflammation subsequently had subsided until about four months ago when with no apparent cause it re-emerged. This time though the inflammation spread and treatment at the hospital had proved ineffective.
She appeared to be in a semi-comatose state but aware enough to be experiencing pain as her face was in a grimace. The bottom of the toe in question was quite black as was an ulcerated area about the size of a human hand on the upper foot in front of the ankle. The children were not able to provide any other relevant information. But the lesions were profound and serious, appearing quite septic. There was no way to be sure, but it seemed reasonable to surmise the ‘pricking’ in the field was from the bite of a snake or some other poisonous animal.
One remedy came to mind immediately that was well known for septic wounds and black discoloration. Historically used for blood poisoning arising from cuts, snakebites, or gunshot wounds, in homeopathic dilutions it has remarkable curative properties for all kinds of obstinate wounds or bad infections.
After the remedy was made up into a liquid solution and handed over to the children with instructions to give daily doses for several weeks before getting back to us, the three of them sat silently with their eyes going back forth between the small vial of clear liquid and myself. Doubt, incredulity and disappointment were written on their faces. I am not sure what they had expected – perhaps a direct treatment on the wound or injections or more impressive looking medicines, but my assurance that the medicine was indeed quite potent seemed to assuage them very little. Nevertheless, they said they would dispense the medicine as directed and let us know how it went.
One unfortunate aspect of working at the clinic for a mere three weeks was that follow-up on many of the patients was either incomplete or nonexistent. Fortunately, a little serendipity afforded a bit of feedback in this case, when we met one of the children in the local market.
Apparently, her mother had started responding to the remedy immediately. The wound was turning from black to red, the pain was diminishing and her mental capacity had returned to the extent that she was talking again. She said that though they were dubious at first, the family was very encouraged. Though it was still early in the curative process, the changes were fairly dramatic for such a short period of time. Hopefully, the remedy will bring her to a full recovery.
Julian Jonas is a Certified Homeopath practicing in Vermont, United States since 1991. He has travelled frequently to India for homeopathic studies. The trip to Mafi Seva was his first to Africa.
By Lionel ‘Noble’ Kpogo (PISHAM 3rd Year Student), recipient of the 2015 An Award
The opportunity to study homeopathy in India aided me personally and professionally. It was exciting, interesting, revealing and also challenging as I got to see the different methodology applied by professionals with the same training in another country and with cultural differences. I was overwhelmed by the continual exhibition of competence and experience of both doctors, Dr Kalyan and Dr Kalishankar Bhattacharyya and also Dr Dilip Bhattacharyya, whom I met for the first time. It was how they were able to answer every question as if reciting a poem – answers came so easily. They were very simple answers, straightforward and easy to comprehend. You saw the truth in what they were telling you. I appreciated Dr Dilip’s passion for doing more research into the mental aspects of homeopathy.
I consider the doctors to be walking encyclopaedias and have learnt many new remedies such as Myrica, Secale and Agaricus, to name a few. Secale I now see to be like a homeopathic broad spectrum antibiotic. The clinics were wonderful and very educational. I feel it has been a real experience and would love to go back again. The cases we witnessed have added to my experience and knowledge as a homeopath.
The diet in India was challenging initially and influenced me to learn nutritional values and new recipes or how to adapt ones I know. I think in the future there could be a window of opportunity to help people change their diet a bit.
The doctors told us, for example, that over the years they have gathered the statistics to show that vegetarians do not suffer with anal fistulas and fissures. In countries where most of the foods are heavy with carbohydrates many people may not realise that they may have fissures or fistulas. If a patient comes I now have the best advice to check and assist them into health.
This was a rich time for me and I feel that I have grown in so many ways. It has taught me the diplomacy to be able to promote teamwork. I intend to pass on the knowledge acquired on the course and will re-read, several times, what I was taught there to get more insight and understanding. From there I will start to implement it in each case that comes. Anytime a new patient is before me and I am taking the case, I will be able to look into all the dimensions and come out with the best remedy for the patient to restore them to health.
Teaching over the internet
The last few months we have seen a fruitful collaboration in teaching between our trained teachers of homeopathy, such as Rebecca Sturgeon, Jane Parkin, Angie Metzger, Jo Morgan, Jacqueline Smith, linda Shannon, Lyn Clark, and Dion Tabrett, and the Kumasi group of students under the tutelage of Bonsu Boaten.
The team run, with the technical help of Peter Jadinge and others, online webinars that allow at a distance for face to face teaching replete with Q&A sessions between tutor and students.
A whole system of mentoring has been set up by Lyn Clark helped by others, so to guarantee that all students can get the full benefit of quality teaching and make full progress in their homeopathy studies.
The ‘Making Cases Count’ initiative
The ‘Making Cases Count’ initiative was created in order to bring about a culture where easily understood, trusted and salient information is regularly made available to all stakeholders in homeopathy. The Making Cases Count initiative supports, guides and incentives homeopaths to collect routine data with the aim of bringing about a culture where a significant proportion of homeopaths collect routine data from their patients in a format which will then be able to be transformed (i.e. anonymised, summarised and counted).
With the support of Homeopathy Action Trust, Ghana Homeopathy Project undertook to record data using the MYMOP outcome measure to capture the patient’s voice. Below is a summary of the results that were later entered into the MYMOP Awards competition.
Certificate and prize for GHP’s Linda Shannon and Angelika Metzger
Ghana Homeopathy Project (GHP) has been providing free/low cost homeopathic treatment to people in Ghana since 2005. In 2012 a routine data collection system was initiated and piloted in GHP clinics. Patients reported the symptoms that bothered them the most using the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) form and homeopaths provided a ‘homeopathic diagnosis’.
Forms were completed from a total of 326 patients who had sought help from GHP-supported homeopaths during a 9.5 months window (17/11/2012 to 5/9/2013).
Of those patients for whom forms were completed, just over half (53.1%) were female, and the mean age of these patients was 40 years (range 2 to 100 years old).
Homeopaths reported 597 diverse ‘homeopathic diagnoses’ for the 326 patients. 29% of patients reported some form of ‘pain’ (e.g. ‘back pain’). Mental and emotional symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.) accounted for around 8% of all homeopaths’ ‘clinical diagnoses’ and 10% of all symptoms reported by patients on the MYMOP forms. Around four fifths (79%, 256/326) of patients reported taking some form of medication at the time of their consultation.
This is the first audit of the work of GHP in Ghana. Both homeopaths’ and patients’ perspectives are reported which is an important strength of this dataset. This pilot demonstrated that it is possible to set up a routine data collection system at GHP-supported clinics.
The first MCC Awards competition were judged by MYMOP team of experts chaired by Honorary Professor of Health Services Research, Professor Kate Thomas (University of Sheffield), Dr Clare Relton (University of Sheffield), Kate Chatfield (University of Central Lancashire)and Miranda Castro (Homeopath USA).
GHP’s Angie Metzger and Linda Shannon were among the runners-up, gaining a certificate and prize of £50.00. If the homeopaths involved in Ghana Homeopathy would have been all fully registered GHP would have been in the running for one of the top prizes. Read the details here: http://www.makingcasescount.org/#!rewards/c170