The School of Nursing and Midwifery has welcomed the eighth batch of nursing students from Grand Valley State University (GVSU), USA, for the 2020 Study Abroad in Ghana.
The GVSU students who were accompanied by three lecturers are in Ghana for a two-week Community Health Nursing programme in some communities in the Central Region.
In his welcome address, the Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Dr. Dorcas Obiri-Yeboah, noted the collaboration between the two institutions continued to grow from strength to strength each year. She said faculty and students from both institutions had benefited immensely through the programme. “Both of us have shared best practices and this has contributed to the success of this programme” she noted.
Dr. Obiri-Yeboah urged the students to participate actively in all activities during the programme. “Whiles here, you will be exposed to the health systems in our country and I believe you will be able to specifically compare what goes on in your country to what you will be seeing here” she explained.
In his presentation, a Principal Programmer at the Centre for International Education, Mr. Isaac Eshun, said the University ran various programmes in the sciences, humanities and education under its five colleges namely, College of Education Studies, College of Humanities and Legal Studies, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, College of Health and Allied Sciences and the College of Distance Education. He indicated that UCC admitted students from all over the world into either fulltime or exchange programme. “UCC has excellent facilities and a conducive environment for all students,” he added.
On his part, the Head of Research, Central Regional, Health Directorate, Mr. Emmanuel Edum-Fotwe said Ghana operated pluralistic health system made up of public, private, traditional and other sectors. He also noted that it operated six sub-systems involving international, national, regional, district, sub-district and community health systems. “The goal of Ghana Health System is to ensure a healthy and productive population that reproduces itself safely,” he stated.
Stressing on the community health systems where the students would be conducting their activities, Mr. Edum-Fotwe said the national strategy was to deliver essential community-based health services to ensure Universal Health Coverage. He said that it consisted of Community-Based Health Planning and Services zone or compound (CHPS). “CHPS Zone is a demarcated geographical area of up to 5000 persons or 750 households in densely populated areas and CHPS compound is an approved structure consisting of a service delivery point and accommodation complex,” he noted.
Speaking on Ghanaian Culture and Health Care, the Director of the Centre for African and International Studies, Dr. Alex Wilson, said there were about 200 ethnic groups in Ghana and therefore the country had no single Ghanaian culture because Ghana was multi-ethnic. “However, there is unity in diversity so we have what we can call Ghanaian Culture,” he explained. He mentioned that the major ethnic groups of Ghana include Akan, Ga-Adangbe, Ewe and Mole/Dagbani.
Like other Africans, he indicated that Ghanaians were notoriously religious. There are “triple heritage of Ghanaian –influenced by indigenous culture, Christianity/colonialism, Islam”.
Some of the unacceptable practices he said they should desist from whiles in the communities included taking pictures without the consent of the people; making derogatory or funny comments about religion among others. Dr. Wilson also made them aware that there were some American Cultures that would not be taken kindly to Ghana. “Address Ghanaians by their academic, professional, or honorific title and their surname. Use of left hand-handshake, pointing to a direction, gestures and the use of words or phrases like ‘hey’ ‘come on’ ‘don’t be silly’ should be avoided, etc.,” he added.
Some of the activities for the two-week study abroad programme are “observational visit to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital and Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, post-conference analysis of each day’s programme and Community Outreach with UCC Nursing Students Association (NUSA) at Bronyimbima in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Municipal Assembly (KEEA). Others include field replacement and rotation at urban/peri-urban health centres, cultural event at the Department of Music and Dance Laboratory, field trip to Cape Coast Castle, Hans Cottage, Kakum Rain Forest and Monkey Sanctuary.
The leader of the GVSU team, Prof. Sylvia Mupepi, said the team was made up of students who were passionate about global health relations. Prof. Mupepi thanked the Dean, faculty and administrative staff of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the University for the warm reception accorded them since the inception of the programme. “We are grateful for making us feel at home and we know this programme has come to stay,” she said.
Present were some lecturers and administrative staff of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.