Bracing for Change

This is my first blog regarding my impending GSK PULSE assignment in Ghana.  I am so excited and still somewhat overwhelmed about this opportunity.  I will be spending 6 months in the Ashanti Region of Ghana in West Africa. I will be working with the Tropical Lab Initiative (TLI), a program within the Millennium Village Project (MVP) run through the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The goal of the TLI is to develop and validate an integrated package of diagnostics that can be easily deployed at the point of care in remote rural communities. Diagnostic tests are crucial for identifying the presence and cause of disease, designating an appropriate course of treatment, monitoring the effects of interventions, and determining drug resistance. The laboratory in the Bonsaaso cluster of Ghana, near Manso Kwanta is losing its public funding at the end of the year, but will be transitioning to a private for profit laboratory, and I will be involved in this successful transition, with the aim to make the change sustainable and have lasting impacts on the health of the local people.  GSK and my managers are really suppporting this effort and I have to thank my fellow pathologists for taking my workload while I am on assignment.  I also have to thank my wife for letting me go for this long.  Hopefully she will get to visit often during my stay.  Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Yanis Ben Amor of the Earth Institute for giving me this marvelous opportunity to make lasting rewarding changes to peoples’ lives and health.  I leave for Ghana in late July, but I have a lot of work here to do first getting ready for such an endeavor.  We just completed a wonderful 3 day intensive training effort with the PULSE team and I met some of my fellow 2015 volunteers as well as some of the 2014 alumni who I hope will give me some more valuable pointers.  Hold on to your hats as you join my blog to share with me this journey.Ken