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Santasi-Hospital-Ghana

A Doctor’s Dream for His Community

For many people, the prospect of retirement is a double-edged sword: On one hand, there is ample time for rest, travel and hobbies. On the other hand, the career and the routine that defines one’s life is suddenly over.

For one doctor, a looming retirement was the spark that ignited a big, new dream for his community.

Talk about a working retirement…

Dr. Yaw Adu-Poku grew up in the Ashanti region of Ghana. After studying medicine and working for five years in his home country, he traveled to the United Kingdom and then to Canada where he practiced obstetrics and gynecology until just a few months ago.

As his retirement approached, he began to feel a new calling: Serving the community where he grew up, and caring for the sick and the poor in Ghana.

“If you think about the divide between the rich and the poor in the United States or Canada, sure, it’s big. But in Ghana, it is humongous,” Dr. Adu-Poku said. “It is a yawning gap.”

“If you think about the divide between the rich and the poor in the United States or Canada, sure, it’s big. But in Ghana, it is humongous,” Dr. Adu-Poku said. “It is a yawning gap.”

Construction progresses on Santasi Hospital

How to build a hospital

In 2006, Dr. Adu-Poku began working with a friend and contractor in Ghana to develop plans to build a hospital. Meticulous planning, patience and a series of loans taken out and quickly repaid have turned the doctor’s bold idea into a reality: Santasi Hospital.

This 19,000 square-foot building will hold about 50 beds in several wards, two labor and delivery rooms, two operating rooms and a large outpatient area to serve the local community.

“Since I began this project, the government has tried to launch a national insurance project. But it is not very reliable, and unfortunately there is corruption,” Dr. Adu-Poku said. “I will likely do what some of the area Catholic Hospitals do: Have those who can afford it pay for services, and simply take care of those who cannot.”

Dr. Adu-Poku will invite colleagues from the larger nearby city to visit patients at the hospital. He plans to start with a small staff of 10 people and grow from there. He anticipates many of the patients he sees will suffer from malaria, which is endemic in this community. He hopes also to provide community vaccination and preventive care services through the hospital. The hospital will also focus on maternal and child health, of course, with Dr. Adu-Poku’s expertise.

After seven years of tireless planning and careful financial management, Dr. Adu-Poku is traveling to Ghana next week to oversee the installation of fixtures and finishing touches on his hospital.

“It’s funny—sometimes when I talk to people at home, they think I’m a dreamer,” he said. “But they thought I was a dreamer seven years ago, and here I am about to open a hospital.”

“It’s funny—sometimes when I talk to people at home, they think I’m a dreamer,” he said. “But they thought I was a dreamer seven years ago, and here I am about to open a hospital.”

This is where MedWish comes in.

Helping to fulfill a doctor’s dream

It takes more than bricks and mortar to make a hospital. Dr. Adu-Poku’s patients will need hospital beds, IV poles and wheelchairs. His staff will need gloves, gowns and instruments.  And while Dr. Adu-Poku’s generosity is as big as anyone’s could be to devote his retirement to serving the poor, it takes a great deal of resources to outfit a hospital.

Soon, MedWish will send a cargo container to Santasi Hospital filled with items Dr. Adu-Poku needs. (The shipment will likely leave in early November.)

“It’s always been more fun for me to give help than to get it,” he said. “I’m not used to receiving help like this, but when you need it to help others, it is worth it. I really appreciate all that MedWish is doing.”

You can help us make Dr. Adu-Poku’s dream a reality. If you work at a local health system, help us secure items from your surplus, especially IV poles, wheelchairs, over-the-bed tray tables and gurneys. The hospital will also be providing labor, delivery and newborn care services, so if you work in an OB/GYN office and have items or equipment to donate, we want to know! (Call us at 216.692.1685 or email info@medwish.org to schedule a pick-up as soon as possible.)

Our fees do not cover the costs of medical supply donation shipmentsWhile our recipients pay a small fee-for-service for their shipments, it doesn’t cover all of MedWish’s costs. Your gifts can help ensure we can fulfill this order and future container shipments.

 

2013-05-SummerVolunteersAnd of course, we could never send shipments without the support of our volunteers, who transform surplus into these lifesaving shipments with thousands of hours of effort. It’s for people like Dr. Adu-Poku and his patients that you sort, quality-check and pack our donations.

 

Please help us make Dr. Adu-Poku’s vision come true. It is through the hands and hearts of selfless caregivers like him that MedWish is truly able to touch lives around the world.

I admire Dr. Adu-Poku’s vision and efforts. As a Ghanaian I am very proud of him. I have known him nearly all my life and I know there is no stopping him. Thank you MedWish for your support.

by Deaba on October 24, 2013

If you’re looking for a hero, look no further than Dr. Yaw Adu-Poku. This is a great man.

Greg Murphy
Belleville, Ontario

by Greg Murphy on January 3, 2014

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