As we prepare the METI team to visit Ghana for the first time, we consider the events of this week. We have always carefully considered the safety of our team, and made it top priority. Our last Haiti trip, for example, was moved to June to ensure that the elections in April wouldn’t disrupt our plans for safe travel to the Southern Peninsula.
Although international safety weighs on our minds, and flying through airports that have heightened terror threats are a reality, we are confident that our team will be safe as we travel to Ghana today. The itinerary is packed and we are clear about our mission: To perform a needs assessment in a village located about an hour and a half outside of the Capital of Accra.
Our goal is to help this community lay the foundation for establishing an EMS system over the next few months that will allow critically ill patients to be transferred into the hospital in Accra, as well as provide pre-hospital care to those sick and injured.
This work is a bit different from previous projects handled by the METI Project. During the past two years, we have focused on in-hospital training in Haiti. We are adding two members to our Ghana team, both well-seasoned within the pre-hospital care arena, who not only function as consultants to high-performing EMS agencies, but offer leadership development services to grow EMS future stars. Both John Becknell and Aarron Reinert are experts in EMS system design and implementation.
Traveling to Enyan Abaasa is complicated as we will land in Accra about 6:30 in the morning local time. We will have flown all night, a 10 1/2 hour trip from NYC. The Boston team will meet our two partners at JFK and will fly internationally together.
We will stay in the city for the night and become adjusted to local surroundings — climate and time change. On Saturday, we will drive one to three hours (depending on road conditions and traffic) to the village to begin our work.
The Easter holiday is Sunday, and this should be a cultural experience for us as we have been invited into family celebrations. This will likely be one of the most impactful moments of the trip for us as we learn about the people and the place.
On Sunday evening, we will meet with the village elders and lay out the plan. As we learn and listen to the locals, we can create a plan that we hope will ultimately impact their community and patient survival.
From Monday through Wednesday, we will have full days with meetings, speaking with local clinical staff, the National Ambulance Service, the Ministry of Health, and a possible trip to the NAS EMS training facility located about four hours from the capital.
On Tuesday we will be lucky enough to travel with the NAS medical directors — we will then have a true understanding of the national system based in Accra. We will get to know the hospital affiliates and truly start to understand the bigger EMS system in the country.
We fly back home on Thursday. Although the trip back to the U.S. is always exciting, we anticipate feeling rewarded by a fantastic trip that will help this region realize better patient outcomes — our primary goal. It will not happen overnight. It won’t even happen in a couple of months. But creating and strategizing, implementing and executing will drive results that METI and the village of Enyan Abaasa will be proud of.
With a little direction, a few resources and some support, the people, with their dedication and passion, will make something sustainable for their community.
We cannot wait to be a part of it. Wish us luck!