This story was originally posted by the Institute for Public Health and is reprinted here with permission.
Physicians Evelyn Amoah MBBS, FWACP and Antoinette Bediako-Bowen, PhD from the University of Ghana were at Washington University as part of an inaugural faculty exchange program facilitated by The Africa Initiative at the Institute for Public Health and Washington University in St. Louis. The program is designed to “promote human capital development in Africa through education and training” as well as increase opportunities for African faculty and scholars to visit Washington University and be exposed to the University’s approach to higher education.
“Evelyn and Antoinette, our inaugural exchange faculty, made a remarkable impression on all of us,” says Director of The Africa Initiative and Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Affairs-Africa, Benjamin Ola Akande, PhD. “I am hopeful that this is the beginning of productive professional relationship with our faculty.”
The two physicians were selected from a collaborative partner, University of Ghana School of Medicine. At WashU, they participated in an individualized training program that can last up to four weeks.
During their visit, Drs. Bediako-Bowen and Amoah each gave a presentation at a recent Global Health Work in Progress meeting, presented by the Institute’s Global Health Center. Their respective research projects were the topics of each talk:
- Peripheral Line Infections in Neonatal Care-Incidence and Associated Factors
Evelyn Amoah, MBBS, FWACP, lecturer, consultant pediatrician, Department of Child Health, University of Ghana and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital
- Implementing a Surveillance System for Surgical Site Infections in a Teaching Hospital in Ghana
Antoinette Bediako-Bowen, PhD, lecturer, general surgeon, Department of Surgery, University of Ghana and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital
Through The Africa Initiative, Drs. Amoah and Bediako-Bowen were also matched with physicians and professionals in the WUSM Division of Infectious Diseases. They toured facilities and operating suites, viewed patient rounds and learned about state-of-the-art diagnostic systems, which they hope could be introduced and possibly implemented in at their own hospital in Ghana.
Both physicians say they have been delighted to train at Washington University for the past month, and have been excited to learn about their ability to extract data and write about it in less than half the time it currently takes in Ghana. They discussed current work in Ghana including arduous administrative tasks such as manual record keeping, antiquated diagnostics equipment and other processes that, upon seeing what is possible at WashU School of Medicine, could be streamlined and upgraded through better automated systems. Benefiting their research, they explained, is the efficiency with which WashU doctors assessed basic processes such as patient scheduling for operations and the study of blood cultures in real time.
Although Ghana has some newer systems in place, Dr. Amoah pointed out that she appreciates the expediency of physician access to records here and is excited to start training on more efficient record keeping in Ghana soon.
“It really opened my mind as to how fast you can work and how much instant information you can gain from real time analysis of blood cultures and electronic record-keeping,” says Dr. Amoah.
As they close their visit in St. Louis, Dr’s Amoah and Bediako-Bowen agreed that they gained much from their time at WashU and look forward to continuing their research in Ghana with new knowledge and insight, which can be shared with University of Ghana and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
In addition to sharing what they learned in St. Louis, the doctors will each identify and submit a grant application to an external funding body within a year of completing their WashU visiting scholar program.
Part of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, The Africa Initiative is an interdisciplinary endeavor committed to expanding knowledge and creating teaching, learning and cultural opportunities for faculty, staff and students.