UNIVERSITY of Limerick and UL Hospitals Group have teamed up with the Ghana Health Service with the aim to drive education projects and to reduce preventable deaths in the remote African nation.
The three-body partnership is called Friends of Ghana, and a key person in the group is UL Graduate Entry Medical Student, Kelly Hadfield, who is also the founder of the Ghana Medical Help NGO. GEMS foundation head, Prof Paul Finucane, who is the chair of the partnership, said that the 2nd year student is “our conduit in what we are hoping to achieve”.
Prof Finucane said that by west African standards, Ghana’s health service performs well and that life expectancy there had risen from 46 when it got independence in 1957 to 61 today. However, he added that this was done with “very meagre resources”.
Kelly said that poverty and geographic isolation can be barriers to families requiring urgent health services in Ghana. Kelly recalled one heart-breaking case in which a low birth weight baby had died because the family could not raise the two dollars needed to travel to hospital.
“Minimising preventable deaths is what angers me the most and they are occurring every day in this region. This whole programme is about empowering locals to stop as many preventable deaths as possible. Right now, the healthcare workers who are the backbone of the service, the rural nurses at pre-hospital community level, have zero training for basic resuscitation skills or for managing trauma. And this is where the Friends of Ghanacan help,” she explained.
Katie Sheahan, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, who is active with an NGO in Kenya, announced the Gig for Ghana charity gig, which will take place at Strand Hotel on February 9.
The charity has already been donated the proceeds of the UL Hospitals’ staff charity cycle that took place during the summer.
UL Hospitals Group CEO Colette Cowan said that they are confident they “can make a difference in Ghana”.
– Limerick Leader