Eunice Asare, the new president of SAAO at NYCOM, went to Ghana over the summer and below, she shares her story.
When I was younger perhaps around age ten, the most exciting thing that I knew I wanted to become was a teacher. Somehow between emigrating from Ghana to the U.S I liked the sciences so decided to go into medicine. All the medical schools I interviewed for, I was most excited about NYCOM, as an osteopathic institution and its Global health summer program. One of the sites for the GHO program was Ghana, and I thought perhaps how OMM/OMT can be incorporated into the medical outside the U.S especially in Ghana.
Although I was born and raised in Ghana, I had never lived in the village. My whole family lived in the capital of Accra, so that was my comfort zone, until the GHO team took me to a part of my own homeland I never thought could exist. Oworobong was pitch dark the first night we arrived. The next morning the GHO team took a little excursion into the village to say hello and see for ourselves what we had gotten ourselves into. The two flags in front of the clinic were American and Ghanaian flag, a symbol of the collaboration between the two countries to bring education and healthcare access to this village.
After my first year, I decided to join the GHO summer team to a rural village in Ghana. We visited towns such as Tafo, and Osiam. We would shadow individual doctors and nurses on their rounds to observe how medical care was been provided. There were a lot of patients coming into the clinics and I applauded the staff for organizing the sites for each patient to be seen. Nonetheless, I was also becoming more and more frustrated as I sat in the consulting room with the clinicians. When each patient came into the room describing the symptoms of their illness, the doctor will prescribe a medication sometimes without even doing a physical exam. Although I understood in that environmental setting that the ratio of doctor to patient was over a ten times the average, so the doctors were under a very limited time constraint. There was a “norm” about the clinic environment and that was that patients came to the hospitals to get medications for illnesses.
Most nights before heading to bed, the GHO team would have a presentation by each student to talk about their experience, and tonight was my turn. I was hesitant to say anything “bad” about my experience but in order to gain a better understanding, I had to talk about it and find solutions to such issues. Dr. Lardner then asked the group if anyone knew what the root word for doctor meant. She continued to explain that Latin root for Doctor is “teacher” Middle English, an expert, authority, from Old French docteur, from Latin doctor, teacher, from docre, to teach; see dek- in Indo-European roots.] Although I didn’t know this when I was younger or even a few weeks ago at Oworobong, Becoming a teacher excited me because it was the transfer of knowledge to empower a person, and communities that had driven me to pursue medicine in the first place. The highest degree of OMT I used on patients was myofascial release for a few patients I interacted with. My goal was to use my hands in the “look,feel,move” as a quick five minute diagnostic tool, and it worked. Patients had significant release in hypertonic back tissues. I hope to have that root meaning of “teacher” in the back of my mind each and every single time I see patient in America or Ghana or anywhere in the world.