Two Ghanaian medical student complete psychiatric electives in Dublin

Two medical students Ms. Araba Fordjor and Ms. Abigail Harding from the School of Medical Sciences, University of Cape Coast have completed a five-week fully sponsored elective placement at St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin.

The elective package was their prize for winning the 3rd inter-medical school public speaking completion, which was sponsored by St Patrick’s University Hospital.

The 4th edition of the competition will be held at the University of Cape Coast on the 17th of October 2014 and the topic for this years completion is: “Towards mobilising political and social will to modernise mental health care delivery in Ghana-the way forward”.

Two representatives each from the clinical year group of the four medical schools in Ghana will take part in the competition which will see the two winners undertake a sponsored elective placement at St Patrick’s University Hospital next year.

So far, 12 Ghanaian medical students have benefited from sponsored psychiatric elective placements in two Dublin hospitals since the inception of the programme in 2010. Please find below the report on the electives by the two students.

Report on Elective in psychiatry at St Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
By Araba Fordjor and Abigail Harding
Our predecessors had expressed just how much we would learn from our 4-week electives at St Patrick’s University Hospital and so we were very excited to embark on this learning experience. Their story however pales in comparison to what we actually experienced!

From the very warm welcome and tour given us by our lead facilitator, Dr. Thekiso to our very first experience with Eating Disorders with Dr. Prasad’s team, we have been very impressed with the staff of St Patrick’s and the dignified services they offer patients. We also had the chance to observe teams in four other specialties namely Special care, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addictions and Psychiatry of Later Life.

We learnt throughout this elective what patient-centered care was truly about, having sat in ward rounds where patients were given the opportunity to get involved and make decisions about their own management. Our time spent interacting with both the staff and patients of the hospital helped us gain a better awareness and understanding of the varying presentations of several psychiatric conditions. We came to appreciate the importance psychotherapy in the management of patients.

We also attended two case presentations where patients were interviewed, surprisingly, before an audience of health professionals and various experts in the field of psychiatry leading to invaluable contributions that could improve the recovery of the patient. It must be said that we gained a wealth of information from these presentations. Our opportunity to observe modified Electroconvulsive Therapy gave us a better understanding of and demystified the procedure.

Aside the academic work that we thoroughly enjoyed and imbibed, we were very pleased to see the beautiful City of Dublin and its lovely greenery and architecture.

We are most grateful to each and everyone who made this experience possible and we hope it keeps going to afford student-doctors from Ghana, a very positive view of Psychiatry that will be used as the template to turn around Mental Health Service delivery in Ghana.

In the attached picture are Mr. Paul Gilligan (left) and Mr. Tom Maher (right), CEO and Director of Clinical Services of St Patrick’s University Hospital respectively and Ms. Araba Fordjor and Ms. Abigail Harding, 4th year medical students, School of Medical Sciences, University of Cape Coast

Source: Vincent Agyapong Professional Corporation

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