Thursday, June 28, 2012

American Embassy and The Maternity Clinic

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog, but we have been extremely busy, so much has happened I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with our visit to the American Embassy.
 On June 11th we went to visit the American Embassy and as soon as we walked through the gates, I felt like I had been transported back to the U.S. even the grass looked American (it probably was imported). Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures on embassy grounds so I don’t have any to upload. Once inside we met with some of the staff to find out about America’s involvement within Ghana and how one would go about getting involved abroad. They began to tell us about the foreign service, where you would go abroad for a year or two and promote peace and prosperity in other countries. Essentially you would represent the America government, which on the surface appears to be exciting but actually means that you might be in a rough and sometimes dangerous environment. Once I heard about the foreign service I became really interested, I might just take the test and apply, although I’m not sure how my parents will feel about me going to any country the government assigns me to for 2 years. After the embassy we went to the W.E.B. Dubois museum, which is within his actual house, and got to see a lot of his original works and the awards that he received.

On June 13th the moment I had been patiently waiting for finally arrived, WE WENT TO THE MATERNITY CLINIC!!!!!!!!! I was very excited to learn more about the midwife and to find out how she balances everything. When we arrived I was heartbroken to see the conditions that the midwife and delivering mothers had to work under. I knew that the clinic would pale in comparison to an American clinic but I couldn’t fathom just how bad it would be. Within the clinic there were 3 beds for mothers and one birthing room, the birthing room table was actually just a metal table with no mattress and a plastic covering. The clinic technically doesn’t have pipes with running water but they do have a pipe right in front where they fill up basins and place a tap in it using the tap for running water. The organization that I intern for, CareShare actually brought this pipe to the clinic, before the installation of this pipe the midwife, Agnes, would have to pay local children to fetch water for the clinic. In addition to the lack of running water, the clinic also has limited space since Agnes, her husband and three children live within the clinic. Her children’s room is literally right outside of the birthing room, could you imagine as a child being awakened by the sound of a woman in labor? Thank god she has all daughters. Agnes would love to move into her own house however she is always on call as she is the only midwife within walking distance; the hospital is about a 35min walk away. Could you imagine not being able to take a vacation because a person’s life depends on you being readily available?

I could go on and on about the conditions of the clinic but pictures would be way more descriptive (see below). Visiting the clinic helped me to realize just how fortunate I am; it also made me want to help out in any way possible. I’m not sure what I will be doing but in some way shape or form, I will assist Agnes and try my best to provide a comfortable and more hygienic environment. I'm glad that I was able to visit the clinic it definitely confirmed my desire to become a healthcare practitioner and to travel abroad, where there is a great need for skilled professionals. Trips like this give me the motivation to get through my heavy course load because they remind me that becoming a doctor or a midwife is more than acing organic chemistry or spending countless years in school, its rooted in assisting others and improving their standard of living. So no matter how long it takes me or how much debt I’m in, I will achieve my goal.
Birthing room 

Birthing table 

Where vaccinations are performed the blue basin is filled  with water much like a makeshift sink.

Beds for before and after delivery 

Outside view of the clinic

Pit where the placentas are placed after delivery, before the construction of the pit, placentas were sent home with the mothers

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