In this series of posts, University of Pennsylvania students who took the spring 2019 APOC (Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics) course write about their experience traveling to Ghana in May-June 2019.
We started the day very early at 7:00 am with a drive to the Suntreso General Hospital where we were to visit Dr. Agyarko-Poku, a venerologist who would help us understand more about mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS to aid in our study of noncommunicable diseases.
We arrived at the hospital, where the in-charge for the STI-OPD unit welcomed us and gave us a general overview of how events are run at the hospital’s HIV clinic which occurs on Wednesdays for adults and on Fridays for children. She gave us also an overview of how viral testing, data collection, and drug dispensary and treatment occur for the confirmed patients in the hospital. We got to see the relevant data points that were collected on each patient visit to help us better understand how well to modify our machine learning system.
We then went to the Disease Control Unit where the professionals there have the job of collating all hospital cases at the end of the week to identify diseases that are on the rise and have the potential to become public health concerns. We also got to understand more about how tuberculosis is diagnosed in the clinics and how treatment occurs for the disease. We found out also that drug-resistant tuberculosis has not been much of a problem for that particular hospital, contrary to what we thought. After this, we split into teams and went to visit the ART center, the counseling center, the dispensary, the data management room, as well as the consulting room where we got to interact more with the health professionals (i.e. nurses and pharmacists) in order to understand the processes that the patients have to go through from entrance into the hospital facility to diagnosis and the reception of their medication.
We left the Suntreso hospital and came back to KNUST where we had lunch before meeting with the civil engineers to discuss writing a report and making possible recommendations for the communities that we visited in order to improve their sanitation and water supply. We arrived at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital’s Nursing Training School at about 2.30pm where we presented our Tuberculosis Triaging system to the students and received their questions which ranged from the usefulness of our algorithm and project to concerns about data contamination and invalidation. From KATH, we made a final run through KFC to grab dinner before making our way back to the guest house to enjoy our meal and conclude the day.