June 30

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Welcome to 🇬🇭 Ghana

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Finally, my PULSE assignment begins. I will be working with the Tropical Lab Initiative in Tontokrom, Ghana. TLI is an integrated program improving the diagnostic capacity of rural, remote settings in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to treatable infectious diseases. Since making the application in January, I have been thinking about what it will feel like, what I will be doing and most importantly, what to take with me. The less weight you carry, the more mobile you are, but I allowed myself a few luxuries; a guide to business etiquette in Ghana, yoga mat, and Travel Scrabble amongst them. What has been humbling already is the hospitality from the GSK folk in Accra where I spent a couple of nights acclimatising. It’s great to feel that I have their support whilst such a long way from home.  Thanks to Mark, Genevieve, Benedicta and Joshua. Today, Friday*, I travelled on the bus to Kumasi, Ghana’s second city. This is much more exciting than the number 21 up the Old Kent Road. The conductor checks tickets, prays with everyone for a safe journey, tells jokes, and sells herbal remedy. The GSK hospitality continued in Kumasi. I was met by Clement and Evans, 2 Pharmacy graduates working for GSK as sales reps. It’s amazing to meet the people at the end of the Product Development process. Over coffee, we swapped stories about what we do and the challenges we face. To reach patients here, products need to be low cost without special storage conditions. A message I will definitely be taking back with me.

On Monday I head to Manso Nkwanta and Tontokrom to start my work with TLI. More posts to follow. Robert.

*Friday = Kofi in the Twi language.