Thea L. James MD (co-founder of UFGH) started this initiative and headed the project for 10 years. From 1995-2005 the project team set up an Emergency Room in the outside courtyard of L’Hopital Albert Schweitzer Hospital providing direct medical services and taught medical education (ultra-sound) to physicians and nurses employed by the hospital. The social work and artistic component was added in 2005 when Zola started a community arts program recruiting children from the surrounding impoverished community as well as children from the hospital grounds. She was able to run the program receiving donated art supplies, and communicating with the social services unit about community outreach and education techniques currently used to intervene in the HIV/AIDS health crisis. Zola also assisted in the hospital by taking care of HIV positive orphans in the hospital. This was a two-week program.
We are returning to Haiti focusing on ways to assist with ongoing earthquake relief efforts. We will provide education for medical staff and assist amputees with pain management by using Mirror Visual Feedback (MVF) therapy to help them deal with pain in their missing limb(s), also known as phantom limbs. We will provide clinic/urgent care for patients in our partnering setting based on immediate clinical needs. We will also provide social services support for children and families in the hospital which will include the care of orphans. In addition, we will use art as a means of helping children describe their own feelings about their current health and living situations. We are looking for team members who are health professionals, public health workers, social workers/activists, researchers, artists, and students.
Emma Mensah RN proposed the Ghana project in January 2007. From November 1-16th 2007, a team of 13 traveled to Ghana to provide direct medical care as well as perform a community needs assessment around Malaria prevention and intervention. The trip was successful serving over 500 people both in Swedru Government Hospital and in the surrounding community, Gomoa District. Our team of doctors, nurses, social workers and artists partnered with Allies in Development Action (AIDA), an NGO in Ghana run by Emmanuel Amokwandoh. Mr. Amokwandoh has been doing work in Gomoa District since 1999 providing basic developmental assistance to deprived communities. AIDA has been a leader in the Gomoa District around Malaria prevention and intervention. In partnership with AIDA, our social work and arts team ran a community arts program with youth using arts as a medium to discuss community health needs and concerns around Malaria. The medical team worked in Swedru Government Hospital, volunteered in a Swedru community blood drive, and also set up community health clinics in the villages of Dominase and Dabanyin giving out free Malaria medication.
We returned Oct. 31-Nov. 14th 2008 to continue our work in Agona Swedru. We brought a team of 19 which included a new surgery component. In the hospital, our surgery team was able to provide 82 surgeries. The community health clinic served 350 community members providing general check-up's and first aid treatment. Necessary cases were referred to Swedru Government Hospital. The community education team served 250 people through public health arts education. We took donated digital cameras to students at Dominase Tech Secondary School where youth documented their community health concerns on camera. We also worked with the Womens Training Institute in Pankuforum providing printmaking materials so that women could develop their own public health symbol on cloth. Our program partnerships with Swedru Government Hospital and AIDA proved to be successful, and we were recognized by the Chief of Agona Swedru as well as Ghana Health Service for our work.
We will keep you updated on our continued work in Ghana.