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Whatever Happened To … The Surgeon Who Couldn’t Count On Electricity?

Dr. Forster Amponsah is one of dual surgeons during a Koforidua Regional Hospital in Ghana. Trained in Cuba, he came home since he felt his skills were indispensable in Africa.

Jason Beaubien/NPR


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Dr. Forster Amponsah is one of dual surgeons during a Koforidua Regional Hospital in Ghana. Trained in Cuba, he came home since he felt his skills were indispensable in Africa.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

When we wrote about Dr. Forster Amponsah in 2016, he was fervent to perform medicine though faced many obstacles. “The ubiquitous electricity is out and a generator is damaged down,” he told NPR. Has a year done a difference?

“The electricity is better, most better,” says Dr. Forster Amponsah during a Koforidua Regional Hospital in Ghana. The surgeon’s fad rushes by a scratchy cellphone tie from Accra. “Now we have a generator that is working. So whenever a electricity goes out now we have a generator.” When we profiled him final year, one of his biggest problems was that a energy kept going out in his handling theater, creation it scarcely unfit to understanding with a reserve of patients.

“I’m still in a same hospital. I’m still in a same museum where we was with you,” Amponsah says. During my visit, there were patients lined adult on gurneys in a corridor watchful for surgery. Africa and many other tools of a building universe face a lethal shortfall in surgeons. Global health researchers contend ubiquitous medicine is one of a biggest unmet needs in some of a world’s lowest countries. A elementary correct of a hernia or an blocked bowel can renovate a patient’s life though mostly hospitals miss a resources or crew to lift them out.

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Amponsah is one of usually dual surgeons during his informal sanatorium outward a Ghanaian capital. He also consults with younger medical students and physicians during other open health clinics in a area. Every day there are some-more patients wanting medicine than Amponsah can presumably attend to.

Even as we speak on a phone, some-more patients are being prepped. “I’m watchful for dual cases,” he says of a subsequent surgeries he’s about to do. “Right now we have a lady with a tiny bowel perforation. And a lady with a gangrenous foot. What we call a “wet gangrene” so we have to amputate on him.”

As he creates his rounds, Amponsah is constantly asked for recommendation by colleagues and patients. He and a other surgeon mostly have to improvise to make adult for a old-fashioned apparatus and miss of supplies.

Jason Beaubien/NPR


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Jason Beaubien/NPR

As he creates his rounds, Amponsah is constantly asked for recommendation by colleagues and patients. He and a other surgeon mostly have to improvise to make adult for a old-fashioned apparatus and miss of supplies.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

One of a biggest problems with a energy cuts was how indeterminate they were. At any moment, all in a surgical sentinel would come to a halt. The new generator, paid for by an unknown donor, has helped dramatically, he says.

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“We still have utterly a few hurdles with apparatus in a theater,” he says of a other machines in a surgical ward. When we was there, several suction machines did not suck, creation them useless. Amponsah simply kept perplexing opposite machines until he found one that worked. And he’s still doing that. “We are doing a best,” he says cheerfully about a subpar medical apparatus on his ward. He’s clearly in a good mood — maybe in partial since of that new generator.

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