Akwaaba | #1

This summer I’m interning in Accra, Ghana located in West Africa. In partnership with MHRIT at U of M and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, I will be participating in an ongoing research project which is concerned about sickle cell disease in the Ghanaian population, however this summer we are focusing primarily on children under the age of 18 years.  The overall goal is to examine how the different types of sickle cell affect the kidneys. This is accomplished through a questionnaire that has been edited over the years to accommodate the changes Ghana has experienced and additional questions that have become useful.

In addition to administering the questionnaire to the peds sickle cell patients, my colleagues and I each have a research question that will analyze based on the responses that we receive from the questionnaire. My research question is, is western medication versus traditional medication more effective in treating sickle cell and which is preferred by the Ghanaian population and why? These are important questions because traditional medicine is sometimes more accessible for certain sickle cell patients and there isn’t much information about its effectiveness. This is one reason why I was drawn to this internship. Another reason is my passion for children and my Ghanaian heritage. I’m a first generation citizen and my parents are both from Ghana. Although, I have never visited Ghana until now, I have always been in touch with my roots and longed to visit my homeland. So far this experience has been nothing short of spectacular. I’ve fallen in love with the people and had discovered a deeper passion for pediatric medicine.

2 thoughts on “Akwaaba | #1

  • June 8, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Wow, this sounds like a really great research project. I’ve thought a lot about your research question in terms of western intervention — for example, is it ok to intervene/go against cultural practices when it will save a life? Does that make it ok? Things like that. Although I know very little about sickle cell disease or Ghana, my dad immigrated from Korea, and I’m similarly interested in my roots there. It’s so cool that you get to explore two interests at once. Are they strengthening each other?

    • June 26, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Yes, this experience is definitely strengthening both. I have found a different kind of appreciation for my country and culture. I also see the many issues that are healthcare related here as well, and I would like to come back in future to help. My brother currently does this but rather intervening, he has trained the residents to be able to operate more efficiently like we do in the US. This mentality in my opinion is better because you don’t come in all high and mighty as if they are unable to fend for themselves but rather there are skills that can be acquired to improve the survival rate and the way they proceed daily.


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