April 30, 2012

Virtue Foundation volunteer obstetricians/gynecologists visit Tumu Hospital to examine patients and plan long-term collaboration for women’s health in northern Ghana

As part of the Virtue Foundation Institute for Innovation and Philanthropy in Ghana’s Healthcare Initiative, Professor Egarter and Dr. Nouri, specialists from the Department of Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine at the University Hospital, Vienna, visited Tumu to examine patients, assess the reproductive and maternal health situation and plan for long-term evidence-based interventions to improve women’s health in the region.

The team examined dozens of patients in two days while learning more from the local population and medical professionals about the various resources and needs in Tumu. While the team were very impressed by the medical staff and Tumu Hospital physician-director, they also felt the needs were quite considerable. “Preventive health care and screening methods that have become routine in the Global North are non-existent in Tumu,” reported Professor Egarter. “For example, there is no policy of screening in gynecology at all. There are no pap smears for cervical cancer screening, no yearly mammography, and no sonography for detecting the endometrial cancer or ovarian cancer.”

In order to address these needs and to reduce the unacceptably high number of obstetric and gynecological emergencies in the region, the Virtue Foundation team recommended instituting a preventive women’s health program. “Using evidence-based preventive and screening methods, life-threatening emergencies could be greatly reduced in Tumu,” offered Dr. Nouri. For instance, the team proposed planning awareness campaigns focusing on early pregnancy detection in order to ensure adequate antenatal care for pregnant women. “Then, alongside prevention and education efforts, specialists could acquire the necessary equipment and supplies and visit the community periodically to conduct medical teaching missions to transfer skills to local medical professionals.”

These and other dedicated Virtue Foundation volunteer specialists plan to return to Tumu in the near future to implement their data-driven initiatives. In this regard, the Virtue Foundation Institute for Innovation and Philanthropy in Ghana is dedicated to delivering high-impact sustainable development solutions for community advancement in the country.

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