After viewing the documentary, my eyes were opened to the situations and challenges faced by the patients and healthcare professionals in Ghana. I would argue that culture and healthcare are inseparable, and often time faith / traditional healers do play an important role in a community. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Ghanaian women would prefer to seek help from traditional healers instead of the unfamiliar modern-medical doctors. What saddens me is that so many of these women don’t receive timely, proper treatments, or are exploited by uncaring healthcare providers and self-proclaimed healers. Additionally, the problems and the intransparency of the Peace and Love hospital have raised doubts from multiple patients, and this only increases the fear and distrusts that many Ghanaian people have toward the Western medicine. So I believe that there are many challenges to be overcome in the healthcare industry of Ghana, and some of the strategies should include raising awareness among the Ghanaian communities, having more proper and specialized trainings for healthcare professionals, and reallocating more resources to breast cancer treatments and researches.
Furthermore, the video also illustrated the importance of cultural competency when working in the health care field. When working with people of different backgrounds and treating patients from different communities, it is important to be mindful of the cultural differences and be respectful. Often time we are so used to the “American” way to do things that we become unaware of other cultures and even become ignorant. I also believe that, instead of thinking: “I’m here to change and save these people”, a healthcare provider should be thinking: “I’m here to collaborate with them, to work toward providing better care”, because global health is not about one single savior-doctor, it is about collaboration and serving the people.
My questions for you are:
What are some of the ways that, as a student, you can contribute to the improvement of global health?
If you were a doctor in Ghana, what would you do to encourage more breast cancer patients to seek modern medical services?