by John Gagnon
A group of steadfast students traveled to Ghana last summer, on a mission to bring better medical care to that west African nation. The trip was both inspiring and disturbing.
The students tested and demonstrated an infant heartbeat detector that could reduce newborn deaths.
The device quickly recognizes if a newborn’s heart is beating. Without this kind of technology, sometimes midwives set aside depressed and nonresponsive babies to die.
On this life-altering journey, the students encountered raw sewage in gutters alongside roads everywhere; wonderfully fresh mangos and plantains; a lack of restrooms and a proliferation of cell phones.
Running water was as scarce as the electric service, which was at best sporadic. So students bathed with a bucket of cold water. “I use more water here just to get it warm,” says Brooke Smith, one of four who made the trip.