Health trust to aid Ghanaian students

OTs Barbara Kemp and Sarah Conner with the Ghanian Students and Mena Limbrick.
OTs Barbara Kemp and Sarah Conner with the Ghanian Students and Mena Limbrick.

A north east health trust is helping to set up a much-needed service which will improve the quality of life for thousands of people in West Africa.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working with The Ministry of Health in Ghana to introduce the first occupational therapy (OT) service in the country.

Three years ago, a team from the trust visited Ghana to witness first-hand the health challenges people face and have worked with the University of Ghana to design and implement the first ever OT course.

Now six students, who will be among Ghana’s first occupational therapists when they graduate next year, are spending time in the trust, working alongside experienced OTs at North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals and in the community, gaining valuable skills that they can use to benefit patients back home.

While in Northumberland and North Tyneside, the students are focussing on areas of OT that will help to address major health challenges in Ghana, such as stroke, which is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity.

Barbara Kemp, head of occupational therapy at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Welcoming the students to our trust has been another step towards our goal of helping to set up the first OT service in Ghana.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have the students here and to show them how a well-run and established OT service can help patients get back on their feet and often regain their independence.”