Ghana Health Services, in partnership with several organizations like Willows Foundation, has implemented the R3M Program, “Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality,” in an effort to provide government resources for Women’s’ Initiatives throughout the country. While visiting The Willows Foundation, we had an opportunity to go out into the community of Teshie and help educate women. This movement provides education on the importance of family planning in order to curb illegal abortion, which oftentimes leads to the mother’s death. We set out on foot with the R3M counselors, who had scheduled visits that day, but we also made spontaneous housecalls to other women as well. Our goal was to check in on the women who were already known to the organization. The counselors wanted to learn whether or not they had visited the clinic and if there was any additional support the women needed.
Occasionally, we were asked to speak with a woman who was not yet using the services, such as the daughter of a client. We even helped to enroll a few new clients.
It was interesting to see how the R3M counselors were perceived. Although we were made to feel welcome at each visit, the education we were offering was not always wanted in a particular household because of its potential to cause issues between a woman and her partner. Overall, we felt honored to have witnessed first-hand how education is impacting these women’s lives. There is a great need for family planning education in Ghana, but it was inspiring to see the difference this knowledge is already making in the lives of so many.
About Zoe Beetler, Wendy Vargo and Kayla Runser
This Kent State College of Nursing study abroad experience began in Athens, Greece, where students visited refugee sites and learned about the impact of oppression and social injustice issues on a global level. Students then traveled to Ghana, Africa, where they worked with Willows International Foundation who advocate for women’s reproductive rights and provide healthcare services to those who are least able to utilize healthcare information and services. Students also visited various health care agencies to understand the impact of culture on health care. Both current undergraduate and graduate students were able to apply for this study abroad experience.