Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Double Whammy

with 2 comments

One of the things we have been trying to studiously avoid since we arrived in Ghana has been a trip to the hospital.  Obviously, keeping healthy is the easiest way to do that.  However, there are more than a few nasties here that will challenge even the most intrepid of spirits.  So…. We finally succumbed on Monday and off we headed to the Kabsad Scientific Hospital in Tamale.

We had a full house the previous day, enjoying a Sunday lunch with a bunch of friends.  Mar got ill and needed to rest (better than being all melodramatic and passing out in the kitchen)!  Anyhow – the weeks / months of persistent illness finally got the better of her, and as she was no better, off we went to find out what was wrong.

Impressively, the hospital was a model of efficiency.  We entered the waiting room which was reasonably full; a nurse briskly motioned us to “check in” at the reception counter.  We filled out a form, and as we had our VSO identification cards, the process proceeded with ease.  Here is roughly what happened:

  • Wait a few moments in “main waiting area”
  • Motioned over by man with medical equipment; Mar’s pulse, BP and weight were taken (incidentally, if the scales are anything to go by, the cuddly Ghanaian Mar is a figment of the imagination;  if anything, a few kilos have been shed since arrival in Ghana in September!)
  • Motioned to sit in doctor queue on wooden bench.  Nurse came by with “card” which can be used on future visits to speed up check in process even further….
  • Wait less than five minutes before getting to see doctor.
  • Quick questions, quick inspection, and am given a laboratory chit for blood samples;  they will test for both malaria and typhoid
  • Stroll immediately into laboratory;  efficiently get blood taken (clean needle, sterile environment);  told to wait back in main area; results should take about 30 minutes
  • Back to main area for said period of time;  get handed chit with lab results;  told to get back in doctor’s wooden bench queue
  • Do so, see doctor in a few minutes time
  • Doctor quickly inspects results;  advises that malaria and typhoid are both present; prescribes no fewer than five scripts; told to take scripts to dispensary
  • Hand docket to chemist; get drugs within minutes; head off
  • Total time:  1 hour; am mightily impressed.  This same exercise would have taken a minimum of 3 hours in Perth….

A few interesting points to note:  not a penny was outlaid.  VSO has an agreement with this private hospital, so all volunteers’ expenses are covered.

The area was very clean and had overheads fans, which provided relief from the sweltering heat.  Doctor office and laboratory were both air conditioned, making that part of the experience even more pleasant.

The hospital obviously deals with many patients, many of whom are illiterate.  So the way the chemist writes up the “dosage” and “when to take” the medication was interesting.  It looked something like this for one of the drugs:

What that means is that you take two tablets in the morning, and two tablets in the evening.  Impressive!

The good news is that the cornucopia of drugs now coursing through Mar’s veins seems to be doing the trick.  She IS feeling much better, albeit with some interesting side effects of the medication.  However, we feel a lot of relief knowing what has been plaguing her for these past weeks / months, and will look forward to a 100% recovery very soon!


Written by Mar(k)

May 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Wow! Impressive service. Glad to hear that Mar was taken care of so well and hopefully on the way to a full recovery soon.


    May 8, 2010 at 6:25 am

    • thanks Karena! things look like they may have finally turned a corner! here’s hoping. Some of the side effects of the drugs were pretty full on. But have now finished all the prescriptions, so am looking forward to a slow and steady recovery! xx

      Mar & Mark

      May 8, 2010 at 11:10 am

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