Several weeks back, a friend of PoP’s founder Adam Braun came to visit our office in Ho. Her name is Akilah and she works for the Foundation for Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) as a research assistant to Dr. Boachie, the chief Orthopedic Surgeon at HSS in New York and a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cornell University.
Akilah offered me an open invitation to visit the new FOCOS hospital in Accra and to stay at the FOCOS guest house. I sorely needed out of slow-town Ho-town and trekked into the big city for the weekend.
The FOCOS hospital is state-of-the-art, by any standards, and opened its doors on 28 April 2012. It has 50 beds, 2 operating rooms, full x-ray and lab services (with the exception of an MRI), and sees dozens of patients throughout the year.
Dr. Boachie’s specialty is scoliosis, curvature of the spine. His patients at the FOCOS hospital come from Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, of course.
Following surgery, patients in the wards undergo regular physical therapy to help them adjust to their new spinal arrangements. Therapy of this sort, that is highly specialized, is not necessarily practiced following surgeries in Ghana, and physical therapists are in short supply. FOCOS has found some great therapists to work with its patients of all ages.
A huge part of FOCOS research is understanding the benefits of various body braces and work to improve them. Glenn, who has also assumed the many responsibilities of general hospital handyman, casts patients for braces and crafts the support system for patients in halos.
FOCOS is doing incredible work to provide excellent surgical procedures and general health care. Though I may not have understood 40% of the conversations going on around me at any given time, I learned a lot and greatly valued this pretty unique experience. I’m excited to come back someday soon.