At Korle Bu and Cleft Palate Surgery

| May 30, 2013

Today we continued our work at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.  We spent the morning working with a variety of patients, some of whom were returning to follow up with either the Speech Language Therapist at Korle Bu or for continued evaluation from our students.  We genuinely enjoyed learning from the wide range of patients and their families, we were able to provide recommendations for children with Speech Language Delay, Autism, other Intellectual Disabilities, and even an adult voice patient.

Throughout the morning, we worked on a rotation.  At any given time about three quarters of us were working directly with the patients mentioned above, while the other quarter was in the midst of experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime!  Dr. Ompomoah granted us permission to observe one of his cleft palate surgeries, directly in the Operating Room.  This was a learning experience that we would never have been so privileged to receive in the States and Dr. Ompomoah was a wonderful and engaging teacher.  As each new group of students funneled in, Dr. Ompomoah was sure to orient us to what stage of the surgery he was at and anatomically with his patient.  It was extraordinary to be able to look inside the mouth of a patient undergoing cleft palate surgery, watch each suture being threaded, and absorb the explanations of Dr. Ompomoah’s surgical strategies. As we observed the surgery and discussed amongst ourselves, it was increasingly evident to all of our students just how applicable and useful this experience will be in our work with future cleft palate patients.  Additionally, we all felt that this will greatly contribute to our understanding of our patients from a more global perspective and cooperating on a multidisciplinary team.  Some aspects of the surgery that stood out to the students included the suturing of the bifid uvula, the levator veli palatini, soft palate, hard palate, and both layers of mucosa.  WOW!

After an exciting and eventful morning, we went to lunch at the Dean’s Guest House. We had a filling meal of jollof rice, fried fish, chicken, plantains, and all the delicious Ghanaian fixins.  We enjoyed being able to discuss the development of the first Speech Language Therapy Program in Ghana with the key collaborators present.  On the way home we stopped at the National Museum of Ghana and then retreated to the hotel.  It was a fun and fulfilling day!  Peace.