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Notes from Ghana: A Physical Therapist Travels to Treat Children

Physical therapist treating patients in Ghana

Physical therapist Jessica Graziano traveled with The Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) to Ghana this month to treat children and adults with debilitating orthopedic conditions. This is the first in a series of posts from Jessica documenting her work in West Africa.

Early this month several physical therapists, nurses, physicians and medical fellows and residents and a prosthetics and orthotics specialist traveled to Ghana with Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei to volunteer at the FOCOS Hospital that was completed and opened last April. Dr. Boachie-Adjei, chief of the Scoliosis Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, founded non-profit FOCOS in 1998. The mission is to provide comprehensive, affordable orthopedic and spine care to underserved communities in Ghana and Africa.

The FOCOS Hospital has been a dream of Dr. Boachie-Adjei’s, and it was great to see his vision become a reality. This is a full service orthopedic hospital with laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, physiotherapy and outpatient consultation departments, as well as several operating rooms. FOCOS has provided life-changing treatment to thousands of adults and children, and the FOCOS hospital provides a new standard of care for patients.

My trip started June 1 when I met up with the team from HSS and the FOCOS Hospital.

I was amazed at how much things have changed since my first FOCOS trip in 2009. At that time FOCOS used the Korle-Bu Hospital operating room and inpatient units. The children would stay at a hostel across the street prior to and after surgery. The new facility consists of an inpatient units and extended care facility for foreign patients.

On my first day of this trip we visited the children on the inpatient unit. We did therapy with them, handed out toys and coloring books, and read to them. The children are absolutely amazing! They are hard workers and determined to do whatever they need to in order to get better.

Jessica Graziano is a physical therapist in Hospital for Special Surgery’s Rehabilitation Department.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.