‘Yaw’, that was the local name given to me as a male, born on a Thursday; one of many traditions the locals live by here in Takoradi, Ghana. My independent venture to West Africa during my second year of student paramedic studies was a challenging decision. Still, one I will always hold as my most significant life experience to date. With aspirations to serve in areas less fortunate in my future career, this step was the first of many more to come within humanitarian medicine. Ghana was a country I had no motives behind travelling to, I wanted to walk into a new culture and health care system blinded to learn to survive.
Ghana is a standout country compared to other West African cultures, with 40% of the population signed up to a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). On paper, these schemes seemed beneficial to the Ghanaian Government. However, in practice, they have been shown to fail. Many factors play a role in funding health care in Ghana, the primary source being the country’s oil production capabilities. The Government of Ghana is pushing to have a healthcare service beyond aid, meaning they are moving not to become donor dependant.
Due to the adversity of Covid-19, I had multiple barriers travelling and working in Ghana, which resulted in having my trip condensed. I have no concerns that the few images displayed in this article will talk enough for themselves about the working conditions. Additionally, I must warn you that some topics and visuals may be disturbing. However, I strive to summarise my experience of the healthcare system in Takoradi, with the attempt to highlight the privilege for which we withhold having a free and established, yet unfortunately abused, healthcare system in the United Kingdom (UK). My end goal is to encourage others to see the beauty that we refer to as the National Health Service (NHS) and change the approach we all view and use the NHS.