Joyce and I arrived in Accra on May 12 and quickly proceeded to visit the Ministry of Health in order to register to practice dentistry in Ghana. We then rested and toured the city before the remaining team of 15 people arrived on May 15. Team member are from ages 20-72 with a wide variety of expertise. On Sunday we drove to the community of New Akrade, two hours North of Accra, where we will be for the next three weeks. In the afternoon we brainstormed team goals and got to know each other better. On Monday morning we toured the schools where some will be teaching, the new library where many will be working to launch, and the dental clinic. We also met with the community elders and leaders who did their traditional rituals to call on their ancestors to help us in our projects. It was quite moving and gave the team a sense of being linked to the past, present, and future of the community.
On Tuesday the work was begun in earnest on the library and in the dental clinic. In the library their was painting and unloading and cataloging of over 22,000 books from Books For Africa, a US program with one of its facilities in St. Paul, Minnesota. Along with Ghanean workers their was a great feeling to finalize the first library for the whole region. The family who got the library funding are here and lots of local people stop to help, and kids on break from school come in and help unpack.
The dental clinic is booming. With two team members as dentists we are seeing about 30-50 patients each day, and that is just the beginning. With two other Global Volunteers team members as assistants and two community nurses helping to triage, register, and hand out post surgical medications, we will be able to see many more patients in the next two weeks.
The upgrading required of the clinic for its adoption into the Ghanean national health program, is being done this weekend. A new tile floor is being installed along with new wall cabinets. A sink and running water will be installed before we leave. We purchased a steam autoclave this weekend and will begin to us it. We have been using Gluteraldehyde, water and bleach with good success. With these requirements, the Ministry of Health has said that a dentist and and assistant will be assigned to the clinic, first on a temporary and then a permanent basis.
Overall, the first week went very well, and everyone is looking forward to launching the library and treating dental patients.
Joyce and I look forward to hearing from you. We hope you are enjoying the beautiful summer in Minnesota or wherever you are.