Louisville Delegation Brings Help and Hope to Ghana
Steve Diamond, executive director of the Louisville Chapter of Healing the Children, recently led a delegation to the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Ghana, Africa.
The trip was part of a visit organized by Diamond and the Sister Cities of Louisville, Inc. to develop a relationship between the medical schools and teaching hospitals in Louisville and Louisville’s African sister city, Tamale. Diamond was accompanied by members of the Sister Cities organization, and staff from the University of Louisville Medical School.
While there, the team met with hospital staff to discuss a program that would greatly improve the medical care in Tamale, a city with a population of about 350,000 located in Northern Ghana.
One of the fastest growing cities in the country, Tamale is also one of the poorest. More than 50 percent of Tamale’s population is under 18, yet they have only one pediatrician. The hospital is a fully accredited teaching hospital linked to a new university and medical school built by the government. However, because of the hospital’s aging infrastructure, medical students must often travel approximately 13 hours to Accra, the nation’s capitol, for their clinical rotations. Once there, few come back to practice medicine in Tamale.
The proposed project would take five to seven years to complete and would include training medical professionals, donating medical supplies and renovating the hospital. The Sister Cities of Louisville is providing the local and national government with financial support for this project. They have secured a grant that will fund connecting the hospital to a new municipal water supply from the Volga River. The funds will also be used to build a home where families from outlying areas can stay when their children are hospitalized in Tamale. Currently these families camp out in the nearby fields where there is no sanitation or water.
The Dutch and Chinese governments are also proving funding for the renovation that will further update the hospital’s water and sanitary systems and increase its bed capacity from 326 to 380, and eventually 1600.
Healing the Children and the Sister Cities of Louisville are securing and donating state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and medical supplies. They also plan to support training of doctors in Tamale though an exchange program for senior medical residents and faculty from the University of Louisville School of Medicine to travel and stay in Tamale, and a telemedicine program for training nurses.
The delegation presented the hospital with their first donation, a state-of-the art endoscope worth $50,000 and other medical supplies.
“The donated equipment will help the hospital in its operations and facilitate the exchanges of knowledge between institutions in Louisville and Tamale,” says Diamond.
Dr. Ken Sagoe, Tamale Teaching Hospital CEO, expressed his appreciation for the equipment, saying it was one of the best in the country.
During their stay, the team also toured the School of Medicine of the University of Development Studies and the Central Hospital, West Hospital and Shekmah Clinic. Local chiefs invited the delegation to their “palaces” and they were also hosted by the city’s Mayor.