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Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa and conduct academic research

Stewart's Masters Masterpiece

Date Posted: 01/11/2018

Stewart was one of our summer 2018 volunteers, but wasn't a volunteer in the usual sense. He worked with Partner West Africa to collect data for his Masters in Environmental Health dissertation: to identify the perception of the greatest public and environmental health issues in the rural area of Kokrobite, Ghana. 

Stewart was one of our summer 2018 volunteers, but wasn't a volunteer in the usual sense. He worked with Partner West Africa to collect data for his Masters in Environmental Health dissertation: to identify the perception of the greatest public and environmental health issues in the rural area of Kokrobite, Ghana. We think he did a great job at interviewing local health care providers and writing up their opinions. Take a read of his abstract below and click here to read Stewart's thoughts on his time with Partner West Africa.

This study was looking at the perceptions of the greatest public and environmental health issues in a rural town of Kokrobite, Ghana. Twenty-two interviews were conducted with a range of Ghanaian medical professionals all of whom worked in either a pharmacy, clinic or hospital. Medical professionals would be among the most reliable of all community members as by working directly within the health sector, they would experience, work with and thus have a great understanding of the health issues within Ghana. During the study, participants were asked to rank order the five greatest public and environmental health issues separately, from a variety of issues amalgamated from a literature review pertaining to community health problems in Ghana. Quantitative analysis methods were used to determine what issues medical professionals perceived to be the greatest problem for their community. Malaria and sanitation were statistically shown to be perceived as the greatest public and environmental health issues respectively.  Both malaria and sanitation are linked to, can occur from, or be causative factors for numerous other health issues which in turn, increase their health burden on the public and can thus result in these individual health issues being perceived as the greatest problems for rural communities. This study showed how perceptions of health issues can also vary among individuals. Whilst the biggest challenges this rural communities faced were perceived to be malaria and sanitation, many other problems such as sexual health and poor road networks were also regarded as high priority with linkages between many other health issues and causative factors identified. By gaining an understanding of the perceptions of community issues, and the complex association they have with each other, future studies and international aid programmes can be tailored to improve these problems and being to ensure the continuity of public and environmental health.

Author: Stewart - PWA Volunteer

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