Week 1 with Jhpiego, Takoradi, Ghana

My first week into a PULSE assignment with Jhpiego in Ghana coincides with my 6th year anniversary with GSK. I really couldn’t have imagined I’d be here 6 years ago and I can’t imagine a better place to be right now!

I arrived in the capital Accra and then travelled to Takoradi where I will be based for the next 6 months. Jhpiego is an NGO affiliated with the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, US and works with women and their families to save lives. Together with a fellow GSK colleague, Allison Barnes, we will be working with Jhpiego in Ghana to develop a monitoring and evaluation system for their malaria prevention and treatment programme in six coastal districts in the Western region.

Takoradi itself is a coastal city which like a lot of Ghana, is developing at a fast rate. The discovery of oil off the coast here has meant that a lot of oil companies have moved in..making it somewhat difficult to find affordable rental accommodation! Within the first week we have met with the Jhpiego team in Ghana and key stakeholders of the project, visited community health facilities to meet nurses and volunteers and attended training for community nurses.  The week has been a series of firsts…from our first meeting with a village Queen Mother to a dance at the local Durbar (community meeting) and sampling Ghanaian local dishes such as waakye and ground nut soup.

Having spent a little time in the field and meeting with the team, what strikes me is just how knowledgeable and motivated the teams are – both community health workers and the Jhpiego team.  I feel very lucky to be in Ghana alongside such a talented and friendly team.  Ghana is apparently one of the friendliest African nations to visit, so far it is definitely living up to and beyond this reputation.

The next 6 months is going to be busy! The wonderful thing is, there is a lot of excitement about our collaboration and over the next few months we will have the opportunity to work with the Jhpiego team to develop an accurate and sustainable system. I am convinced we have a lot to learn from one another and that this is going to be a fantastic experience!

Food tip: roasted plantain and peanuts – delish 🙂