“My decision to pursue an internship in Ghana during my Masters in public health came from different reasons. Firstly, I was born and raised in Ghana till the age of 12 and moved to Denmark after that. I have always wanted to work with the health sector once I have finished my degree and gained some experience. While searching for a potential NGO I could work with, I came across WAAF. I was curious about their target population and about the educational aspects they offer. I was drawn to the positive report from previous interns and volunteers and ongoing projects.
There has been great communication between me and contact persons at Global Nomadic. I had chosen to be in Accra 14 days before internship start. A staff member at the Aya Centre picked me up from my residence and accompanied me to my host family. He also took me on accompanied me on the correct bus route on my first work day. During my internship orientation, I was asked to write down my interests and public health areas of focus, and my work schedules/assigned tasks were adjusted accordingly. The WAAF staff were welcoming and friendly.
The following statements are personal experience I have had with both clients and staffs.
Educational Day is an activity done once a month for HIV positive mothers and pregnant women with healthy babies. The program is called Healthy Mother = Health baby. A staff member, usually a nurse teaches the group about specific topics relating to their health. It could be about nutrition, medicine administration, other comorbidities related to HIV/AIDS. Before lessons start, there is a short repetition previous topic to refresh their memories. This opens to knowledge sharing individual learning about the topics. The women are good in encouraging each other. It is interesting to see how empowering this can be unto the women. It is also really exciting to experience how their children could escape HIS infection because of adherence to treatment. This bring lots of hope.
Home visit to an HIV client
A home visit to deliver ARV to a client who has defaulted a couple of times earlier and now have AIDS. Her weight and BP were taken to check whether she is getting better. She has developed opportunistic infection with sores in her mouth. This makes it a little impossible for her to eat properly. She weighed 26 kg, can barely walk, and has a terrible cough. She was encouraged to keep taking her drugs. Since the drugs are too big, she is encouraged to break them into little pieces when she takes them. It is interesting and amazing that home visits are available to those who are really need them.
Outreach on World AIDS DAY
Doing counselling together with an HIV counsellor. It was interesting to offer sex education counselling to those who came to check their HIV status. I realised most of them were market working women who worked very hard. Lots of effort and communication is invested in such a big day to make everything come together. There were a lot of people waiting to get checked and this was a bit challenging because it meant there was a long queue.
The OPD (IHCC)
Taking vitals of clients before seeing the doctor is an important part of the care giving services at IHCC. There is also a great opportunity to interact with clients and hear and listen to their stories whiles waiting for the doctor. One elderly relative accompanied a client who got unwell after seeing the doctor. She was offered a bed and a drip. Meanwhile the elderly relative sat outside and looked very tired. I offered her a sachet water for which she was thankful.
A day in the lab
I was asked to help at the lab with data entry on viral loads of HIV clients. Most of the viral loads were follow ups from previous tests. The most challenging about entering the data is when there are more than 1 clients with the same name. Fortunately, the lab technicians have a way of identifying and separating the clients from each other. So, I had to save them for later so that they can enter the data themselves. When viral loads are below 20, the HIV virus is undetectable. It is interesting to learn how important adherence to medication in terms of treating HIV virus and gaining a better quality of life.”