January 27, 2017

A Sound Partnership

The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is working with physicians to provide the best care to patients in Ghana. 

BY ALLISON WILSON, WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY WILLIAM FOREMAN

In Ghana, a country of 26 million people, there are only about 20 ear, nose and throat, or ENT, physicians practicing at any one time. Limited access to ENT care in the West African country has led to high rates of chronic ear conditions that, when left untreated, can cause permanent hearing loss and life-threatening illness.

The University of Michigan Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has been collaborating with physicians in Ghana to develop more robust ENT education and facilities there — particularly for otology, or diseases of the ear. The department recently established a medical education partnership with the ENT residency program at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, or KATH, in Kumasi. 

U-M faculty began visiting KATH in 2015, initially to assess patient needs and supply the hospital with medical equipment for otology care and training. During each trip, the team leads ENT courses and surgery simulations for KATH attendings and residents, and tends to its patients in the clinic and operating room. 

Michigan photographer Roger Hart accompanied the department on one of their first trips to KATH, capturing the early stages of a collaboration committed to impacting long-term change. 

U-M’s ENT partnership with KATH is modeled after OB-GYN training programs U-M helped establish in Ghana 30 years ago. Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D. (Residency 1979), professor and chair of U-M’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, forged that original partnership, and saw potential for similar success at KATH. “Our training partnerships have developed leaders who have gone on to be important change agents improving care in Ghana,” he says. 

 

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