The Coastal Groves Clinic Story
Trip Start Apr 01, 2007
21Trip End May 10, 2007
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For the better part of the last week we've been working with our group on developing the clinic. I know I haven't filled in a lot of the details about the clinic, because before I got here I really didn't know them. So here's the story:
This all has to do with an orange juice factory outside of Cape Coast
Daniel says that he wants to raise the standard of living of the farmers and make them more self sufficient and self-sustaining. Most live in 1-2 room buildings made of mud with thatched roofs, with families of up to 12 people
After a number of years of working with these farmers, Daniel has spent a lot of his own time and money on helping them with medical care. The farms are very rural, many only reachable by dirt roads, which in the rainy season can become impassable at times. The farmers work hard and don't have a lot of money, so they often put off medical care for as long as possible until they are extremely sick. They don't really trust the regional hospitals nor have the money to pay for treatment, so when they have reached the point where they can no longer work, they go to Daniel to ask for help. Malaria is the biggest health issue here (if you live here you can't afford to take prophylaxis like we do). Daniel says that when symptoms first develop of malaria, if you treat it right away it costs a couple dollars. But most of the farmers and their families put off treatment hoping to get better and only seek care when whey are so ill they need to hospitalized - so this delay is causing the cost to be 50-100 times more.
Daniel and Jerry wanted to start a medical clinic that would be located around the juicing factory and serve all the people in the area - not just the farmers and their families. So that people stay healthier and are better able to work and take care of their families and themselves.
Since we arrived we've been learning about the communities, the farms and factory, meeting with people and trying to assess the health infrastructure of the country and current health needs of this community
But it's been a really productive trip. Everyone is really excited about this opportunity and the clinic. There's obviously a lot that we can accomplish here. Tomorrow we have a meeting with the local chief who will grant us permission to have the clinic and will give us the land to use to build it. It'll be my first meeting with a chief so I'm pretty excited! We have a couple more people to meet with early next week. Part of the group will leave on Saturday - they were doing some cataract surgeries at a local ophthalmology clinic. Some others will leave on Monday and the following Wednesday, just depending on their schedules. Then we'll have a couple weeks to tie up loose ends and do a bit more traveling.
It's hard to believe that my trip is ½ way over now. I'm sure I'll be ready to go home by the middle of May, but right now I'm really happy that I have 3 more weeks left!