IHCV's 2016 Winter Newsletter

IHCV’s fourteenth medical mission to Ghana, West Africa, took 36 volunteers to La General Hospital in Accra, Central Regional Hospital in Cape Coast, and KNUST University Hospital in Kumasi. Working with our Ghanaian health professional colleagues, IHCV volunteers cared for 944 patients, performing 92 surgical procedures over 10 working days.

IHCV prides itself on its focus for educational exchange between Ghanaian and IHCV medical students and residents. During the 2015 mission, IHCV volunteers attended and...

Download the entire Winter 2016 Newsletter to read more.

theGrio’s 100: Drs. James K. Aikins, Jr. and Charletta A. Ayers, Treating Women Worldwide

Aikins and Ayers annually lead teams of more than physicians and healthcare providers to Ghana and Jamaica. In over 10 years of service, more than 9,500 women and families have been helped by IHCV. In 2011 alone, the team performed 93 major surgeries in eight working days throughout four Ghanaian towns. They also help with preventative healthcare programs such as cervical cancer and HIV screening.

2011 Mission and Newsletter

Over forty-five volunteers participated during the tenth International Healthcare Volunteers, (IHCV) medical mission to Ghana. 2011 IHCV medical mission was extremely successful. IHCV attended to approximately 850 patients and performed ninety-three major surgeries in eight working days in four towns in Ghana – Apam, Cape Coast, Kumasi, and Mampong.

Since the inception of IHCV in 2001, the organization has taken care of 9,500 patients and performed over five hundred major surgeries. IHCV continues its annual educational endeavors by providing continued medical education (CME) to healthcare providers. IHCV collaborated with the Ghana College of Physicians and surgeons to provide the annual CME program held at Accra this past August. IHCV provides community outreach through major support to orphanages in Cape Coast and Kumasi as well as providing Blood Pressure Screening in Cape Coast. Locally, IHCV supports the New Jersey Family Health Services – an organization located in Camden that supports single mothers and their children. The single mothers are taught various parental and job skills.

2011 IHCV Volunteer Experiences

I am Sarah Lachman and I am a recent graduate from Temple University. This past summer was my first time to Ghana, Africa and my first time on a Medical Mission. It was a month before we, International Healthcare Volunteers, were leaving for Ghana and I was getting nervous. The reality of the trip had sunk in and this was the first time I was traveling without close friends or family. I have traveled all over before but never experienced anything like that in which I was embarking on. When people think of traveling and seeing the world, they normally associate that thought with vacation. I knew this was not a vacation and I would be taken out of my comfort zone completely, was I ready? I remember landing in Accra on our first day and I still questioned myself if I was ready. And to be honest, being a part of this organization quickly settled my nerves about if I was. I am appreciative to the 52 volunteers this year, not only did I experience a medical mission but it’s also the people that make the experience and this was a great one.

Are You Pregnant or Bloated? A Reflection of a Medical Mission to Ghana

If you were to tell me that I would do anything medical, I would have laughed out in tears. My whole life I have been surrounded by ultrasounds, babies, free HIV testing pens, and scrubs thanks to my OB/GYN mother, Pamela Brug-Panton, M.D.

Yet the thrill of my mother’s career never caught up with me. I wanted to be everything in the book growing up: an archeologist, fashion designer, scientist, actress/ model. Medical doctor was not even number 50 on my list. I guess being so exposed turned into over exposed and the thought of medicine did not appeal to me. It was only this year that I began to consider the field of medicine as a whole. No, it wasn’t a long talk with my mother, an inspiring and profound story on Discovery Channel, nor Gifted Hands by Ben Carson,  but Grey’s Anatomy.  Yes, Dr. Grey, Christina Yang, and “B-A” Alex Karev stole my heart. I don’t know what it was but it was that moment I decided I wanted to become a doctor, a plastic surgeon to be exact. Boobs aside, working with burn victims peaks my interest.

My Encounter of A Lifetime

My voyage to Ghana, West Africa was a trip and experience like no other. This trip was one of unique encounters and valuable cultural confrontation. It gave me a new perspective on life. Ghana was a trip that was not only enjoyable, but one that was life altering. All of those who traveled with the International Healthcare Volunteers; doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, dentists, and volunteers all gave up their time and money to assist those who had limited resources when it came to their medical well-being.

Not At All What I Was Expecting

I had all of these ideas in my head about what our mission to Ghana was supposed to do. We were supposed to be providing the highest quality medical care we could, and we were supposed to be providing it at the lowest possible cost.  We were supposed to be filling the gaps that couldn't be filled by the Ghanaian hospital staff.  We were supposed to be performing complicated cases, and scary ones, and easy ones, and on, and on, and on.  But for some reason, that's not what our mission became for me.  When I think about those weeks, and all of the work that we did at Apam Catholic Hospital, I think about a little boy, and everything that we couldn't do for him.