Well. I’m finally here. I arrived in Ghana six days ago and am writing this blog entry in the living room of my host family home, in a small, rural town called Bosomtwe. I am in Ghana this summer as part of the Michigan Health and Health Disparities Training Research program (MHIRT), as a research trainee. MHIRT is an NIH funded research program which aims to increase representation of students historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Additionally, the program aims to support students who will most likely contribute to the mitigation or elimination of health disparities.
This summer, I will specifically be working under the mentorship of Dr. Frank Anderson,an OB/GYN at Michigan Medicine, on one his projects exploring neonatal mortality. Neonatal mortality rates in Ghana, specifically central, rural Ghana, are nearly double the rates of those in Western, higher income countries such as the United States. The research will observe the effects of fetal monitoring on improving neonatal mortality rates at St. Michael’s hospital, a facility in Pramso, Ghana. Fetal monitoring allows the monitoring of the state of the fetus a weeks to a few hours/minutes before birth, and can point to serious, possible fatal complications. The advent of fetal monitoring has allowed physicians and other health care providers to catch complications during the final portion of gestation, and has saved countless lives of infants born in higher income countries. St. Michael’s, the hospital I will be working at, recently obtained their first fetal monitoring machine. My research partner, Victoria, and I, will be collecting data throughout the summer of the fetal monitoring, and then compare this data to data collected before implementation, which will help elucidate the efficacy of the machines on neonatal mortality rates.
I am extremely excited to start research. Tomorrow will be my first, official day at the hospital, where I will meet with the physicians and nurses with whom I will work for the next 12 weeks. I spent the past week in Accra, trying new foods, exploring the city, and getting acclimated to a completely new culture. Tomorrow is when the work really starts. Although I’m slightly nervous, I have faith that it will be a summer of growth, adventure, and some some really good jollof (Although Nigerian jollof is better, sorry not sorry).