Report by Jannen

Hi! I´m finnish student nurse, who accomplished his ten weeks practical training in Tamale –possibility offered and arrangements made by REVSODEP. I´m representing shortly my experiences of internship programme:

After traveling and two weeks stay in capital city, Accra I was very eager to start my training in Tamale teaching hospital. I was introduced to adminstrator of studentaffairs and the head nurse. They were wery considerate and we students got choose wards we planned to implement our program. We were taken around to see the hospital and they sent introducing letters to wards to inform about us. You dont necessary meet those personnel during your work. Anyway it is good as a foreign student sometimes go and meet student adminstrator and people of management just to keep up relations. It is polite gesture because you are studing in their hospital and also in case something unanticipated happens, they are persons that can help you.

First four weeks I worked in pediatrics and I had change to learn about most common healt problems among ghanian children and nursingcare that was given. There were several cases of malaria, anemia, neonatal sepsis, meningitis, chest infections etc. It was april and I learnt that hot and dry season knows quiet times for pediatrics. Not more than 20 of 64 beds were in use and somedays we had only 3 patients in ward. But when there is rain there will be more mosqitoes and cold and more diseases, nurses told and looked back on times they took care over hundred mothers and children. I didn´t wonder anymore why they seemed to be so relaxed – they were loading batteries. That left us much time for good discussion about nursing and life in Ghana compared to my country.

There is good atmosphere in childrens ward and I tell you the personnel is dazzling, just great, devoted people working there and doing their demanding job in somewhat poor circumstances. Partly it comes from patients ´cause in hospital also children represent hope and future. Many of them cured but It´s sad that many admit to hospital way too late. I think in most of cases reason is – possibly indirectly – powerty, but also lack of knowledge about causes of problem and how you treat it in time. Low and simple nutrition is also disadvantage when question about recovery.

My training in medical ward was more ragged ´cause of the strike of healt care personnel. As a result I saw variety of nursing practices as well in surgical ward. It concludes all my experiences that if you want you really get in practice in Tamale teaching hospital and you will see how there is not only one way to do it. Afterwards I find it very enriching and think I could be usefull to any european student nurse, working with all the facilities and equipments.

How much you learn is very much depending your own activity and enthusiasm. Tell about your needs and learning goals to nurse in charge. I found good mentor for myself in both wards. Be open and friendly to people working there and it all comes back to you. I felt like all the people in hospital vere ready to teach me, interested to share their knowledge. So you just alively get together with them. In that you might benefit something to break the ice, like learn the lyrics of some famous local song.

I needed also experience of community health nursing so last two weeks I spend with ”officer” working for Ghana health service in Bulpeila health center. Their Community-based Health Planning and Services Programme (CHIPS) seeks to reduce the incidence of preventable diseases. In practice we rode to rural areas by motorbike to control newborn ghanians, register them, give vitamins and immunization. People could also buy mosquitonet at reasonably price. I also went to villages with workers of revsodep and luckily because good contacts I get to visit King´s village in Kumbungu and see all that health prevention in action. I guess that gave me something to reflect on for rest of my life. People in those villages are living so differently that I´m thinking do we even share same concept of reality! And on the other hand it stays that we are all human, no matter were you travel. And strange to say there is so great deal of similarities, that it is possible to understand each other and feel warm alliance.

Leisure time in Tamale and our groups traveling to most of Ghana´s must-see places would take more pages. I think my host family was the best I could get. When I call up them and many other tamalian persons I start feeling happy and grateful. Thank you REVSODEP! Thank you Ghana! I really definitely hope to be back someday.

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