Traveling to Accra Ghana for continuation of and expansion of a longitudinal ultrasound course tailored to emergency physicians, but applicable to any physician that requires diagnostic accuracy in a resource-sparce setting. I will be teaching an ultrasound course at the 2022 African Conference in Emergency Medicine (AfCEM), and thus this course has potential to be far-reaching and hopefully impact physicians throughout the continent of Africa. The ultrasound course will consist of basic introduction of ultrasound, a pre-assessment quiz, active learning exercises including and emphasizing hands-on experience, and post-assessment/knowledge acquisition quiz. Before and after the conference, I will also be working with the University of Ghana Medical center (UGMC) to train their emergency physicians on point-of-care ultrasound. Ultrasound has been rapidly gaining acceptance in emergency and critical medicine areas over the last decade and more. It has a low learning curve, and high yield results in the hands of the properly trained operator. Nowhere is there a greater need for the use of this noninvasive and helpful tool as there is in resource-limited nations, of which most African countries largely belong to, including my home country, Nigeria. So, while on previous travels, my aim has been to expand the knowledge and expertise of local physicians who are in turn able to continue providing excellent care for their population, my ultimate goal is to apply this on a intracontinental scale, impacting physicians throughout Africa. On subsequent visits to Ghana, I will continue working with the UGMC group of physicians to further their US skills and am humbly requesting financial assistance with this coming trip. During and throughout the trip, I will also be available for consults from the emergency department as well as critical care teams at UGMC.
The population served are the physicians in emergency medicine or other specialty physicians with interest in ultrasound, actively working and/or training in Ghana or any other African nations.
I’m happy to have the opportunity to impact a continent unfairly shrouded in social inequality and health inequity. I’m especially fortunate for the opportunity to return to my roots. Growing up in Nigeria, I did not fully understand nor appreciate the lack of social and health justice, until I immigrated to the United States, then traveled back to visit family in Nigeria during my adolescent years. I was fortunate enough to have been shielded by childhood oblivion, and it was with time that I understood the magnitudes of differences between where I lived and where I had once called home. I chose medicine with a dream of making a difference and am so fortunate to have been able to make successful strides towards this dream; doing what I can to make certain that health access is remains not a privilege for the few simply based on your birth location, but a right for all.
Lastly, in this and in subsequent missions to Ghana, I hope to impact the Ghanaian health system both directly and indirectly by better equipping their health care providers with the tools and knowledge they need to optimally care for their fellow citizens.
My mission centers on best methods of effective, actionable, and sustainable efforts, as endorsed by many global medicine advocates. To this end, I ultimately focus on training the trainer. By training physicians who are passionate about ultrasound (US), the work continues when I leave. This will not be achieved overnight nor with only one trip, however, with the rare opportunity that this international conference presents to reach physicians from a largely resource poor continent, not just one country, I have a unique opportunity to present an alternative and more cost-effective diagnostic tool to those naïve to the principle, while furthering the expertise of those familiar. I am confident in the easy to learn aspects of my subject, the applicability and utility in a resource-poor health system such as Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia, etc, and lastly the enthusiasm of the physicians we're training who continue to demonstrate great willingness to adapt and remain innovative in their patient care approach.
Through a partnership with the University of Florida Gainesville, I traveled to Accra, Ghana to directly train resident physicians at the University of Ghana medical hospital as well as 37 Military hospital in clinical ultrasound.
Our nearly 2 weeks stay in Ghana coincided with the biannual African Conference in Emergency Medicine. This fortuitously allowed us not only to continue to provide training in our established facilities, but also to reach a wider berth of emergency physicians by providing a hands-on basic and advanced ultrasound course pre and post-conference course.
Continuing with our established contacts with the 2 facilities, we trained resident physicians across multiple specialties, including emergency medicine, surgery, OB/gyn especially OB/gyn nurses, as well as radiology residents. In Ghana, the radiologists directly acquire and interpret their ultrasound images, and often times, this is the only radiological image available prior to decision to operate, even in these two tertiary care facilities that have more resources than most in the country. Our training included days of immersion didactics and hands-on sessions, covering a range of topics including US physics and knobology, basic echocardiography, eFAST including determination of pneumoperitoneum, biliary pathologies, thyroid and scrotal ultrasound, OB/gyn including fetal dating, and importantly, US-guided procedures. At the Military hospital, we were often called upon for real time diagnostic scanning in the emergency department.
By teaching the local physicians, we’re able to directly place the power in their hands. By encouraging their curiosity and aptitude, we nurture an environment where they feel confident in building upon their skills, and becoming teachers themselves, as all physicians must be. I’m so grateful to have been part of these awe-inspiring physicians’ journey, and am looking forward to this continued relationship, and the opportunity for many more trips where we build on US proficiency and hopefully eventually expertise.