gye nyame mobile clinicGye Nyame mobile clinic

We use our strength to stand up for the most vulnerable in the community

From its base at Saint Patrick's Missionary Hospital in Maase-Offinso, Gye Nyame mobile clinic, which is the result of Ori and Britta’s ambition, provides specialist medical care to impoverished people living in Ghana’s rural areas.

Each year the clinic treats more than 5000 patients – most on regular basis – and performs around 500 operations on (mainly) children under five years of age. It serves a population of approximately 600,000 Ghanaian inhabitants who either cannot afford to travel to hospital, or whose transportation is inadequate during the rainy season when the paths to villages become flooded.

The aim is to relieve the strain on mental health and pediatric services in Ghana’s overcrowded and under resourced hospitals. Where possible, patients are treated on an outpatient basis and only referred to hospital if they require extended medical treatment. There is a special fund for families who can't afford urgent operations for their child.

Setting out from Saint Patrick's, the mobile clinic drives every day to a health post in a remote area – there are 11 health posts in total – to treat local people. The mobile clinic has a fixed three-month schedule prepared in advance so that the staff at the health posts know when it is returning to their area.

The pediatric surgical team treats malformed babies, children with infected tropical wounds, burns and fractures, and adolescents with various tumors. Minor operations are performed in the villages, sometimes on a simple bench, and major surgery cases are taken to Saint Patrick’s. The psychiatric team treats patients with epilepsy (many due to infectious diseases, including malaria), children with autism, mental disability caused by abuse as well as psychosis, depression or drug-abuse.

Emotional support and education are offered to the families of patients, to help with the reintegration and rehabilitation of their love ones.

gye nyame mobile clinic

Meet the Gye Nyame team

gye nyame mobile clinicNana Mensah, driver
gye nyame mobile clinicLydia Signye, nurse assistant
gye nyame mobile clinicGideon Oduro-Amankwah, psychiatric nurse
gye nyame mobile clinicAlexander Annor Boafo, psychiatric nurse
gye nyame mobile clinicDr. Britta Budde-Schwartzman, pediatric surgeon
gye nyame mobile clinicDr. Ori Shwarzman, psychiatrist
gye nyame mobile clinicMr. Zaglegpou Ngmentiru, medical assistant
Dr. Felicia Okyere, pediatrician

gye nyame mobile clinicHopeXchange Hospital

Missionary hospital with a specialist center for academic teaching

We are looking forward to the forthcoming HopeXchange teaching hospital, which is due to open its gates on January 2016. This fantastic new facility, based at Fankyenebra in Kumasi, will also be home to Ori and Britta’s much anticipated psychiatric and pediatric surgery units.

Whereas previously severe cases for pediatric surgery or psychiatric patients with difficult problems were hospitalized in St. Patrick's and followed up in the mobile clinic later, they will now have access to this new globally connected center of excellence in pediatric surgery, training and research.

In addition, there will be connection with the international psychiatry community to provide continuous psychiatric education, therapy and research. This will serve as a model for other centers of competence in developing countries.

Whereas Saint Patrick's missionary hospital is in the north of the Ashanti region, the new HopeXchange hospital is in the bush over 30 km away in the south-west. It will serve a catchment area of over half a million people, principally in disadvantaged areas of the forests of the Ashanti and neighboring Western region. It is almost entirely organized by the Catholic health services, but employs staff on a government salary. After the pediatric surgery units and the psychiatry are established, other specialties are planned to follow.

This new state-of-the-art child-oriented medical facility will house the infrastructure and equipment needed to perform pediatric surgeries, including all pre- and post-operative care. It will ensure that Gye Nyame can continue with its medical mission for at least the next 20 years of serving the local catchment population.

HopeXchange will have an outpatient department and an emergency department, with eight consultation rooms equipped for small procedures and comprehensive IT access. A modern laboratory and a radiology department, together with a pharmacy, will serve three operating theaters, and female, male and children's wards.

Ori and Britta’s teaching seminars and workshops, which have previously been held in St. Patrick's missionary hospital, will also move across to the new hospital. Teaching of junior residents, medical assistants, nurses and nurse assistants is a combination of practical bedside and hands-on training. The new teaching facility will provide workshops for medical and paramedical professionals, including general practitioners, pediatricians, nurses, students and health workers for the villages.

A neonatal unit is planned and we will keep you informed of its progress on this website – so please be sure to visit again to keep updated on all our exciting developments!

The last seminar in psychiatry was held in April 2015 with 80 psychiatric nurses from the Ashanti region in collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Health.

gye nyame mobile clinicCommunication center

Bringing medical expertise to Ghana virtually from across the globe

People heard about the success of the mobile clinic and started bringing ailing family members from all over Ghana, as well as the neighboring Ivory Coast and Mali. Many of the patients did not even require pediatric surgery or psychiatry, but they brought them nonetheless.

These afflicted people needed specialist medical care, such as the one-year-old boy with a horn-shaped forehead, and the nine-month-old baby girl whose leg deformity required her to be sent to Florida in the USA for treatment.

In an effort to help, Britta started to consult online with specialists across the globe, including Israel, the USA, the UK, Belgium, Germany and Spain. The response was fantastic and over time a body of knowledge was gathered in a wide area of medical disciplines.

This virtual center is now well established and has strong links to overseas medical specialists who provide expert knowledge from their locations.

gye nyame mobile clinicPatient stories

We have met and treated so many wonderful people over the years that we could fill volumes with their personal stories. Here are just a few of them to give you a little insight into our world at Gye Nyame.

  • Risen from the ashes
    gye nyame mobile clinic

    A young woman brought her shy 15-year-old son, Evans, who glanced at the Obronis (white people) with mistrust. Evan showed me his open wound, which stretched down the entire outer side of his dirty and infected right leg. His mother explained that he had fallen into a fire two months ago and that the wound would not heal. I thought to myself: it is a wonder that he survived the burn let alone the blood poisoning that is now plaguing him! We immediately began to clean the wound and prescribed him several medications. By the time he left, the truth of Evan’s case had surfaced; he has epilepsy and during one of his attacks he fell into the fire. And so began his anti-epilepsy treatment as well.

    Evan, who had been thrown out of school due to his apparent strange behavior long before he was burnt, is now in his twenties. He still attends the mobile clinic every month and, having completed his education, helps his father on their farm.

  • A love like no other
    gye nyame mobile clinic

    A grandmother brought her seven-year-old grandchild. I love these small and muscular (from the hard field work) grandmothers who are usually no more than 50 years old. They bring up at least eight grandchildren at a time, with who knows how few Ghana cedis, and still smile even after seeing all the miseries of life and death. This woman’s granddaughter, Adjoa, had a huge tumor at the opening of her urethra and so I scheduled an appointment for surgery. When I mentioned to her that a parent must sign the papers to consent to the surgery, she looked at me sadly and told me that Adjoa’s mother had died the previous year from AIDS and that her father had disappeared. I asked myself: what will happen to all these children when the grandmother leaves our world? On a happier note, however, thanks to her incredible grandmother, little Adjoa had surgery and is now healthy.

  • A fair exchange
    gye nyame mobile clinic

    Nana is one of the oldest people in his village and he comes to our mobile clinic every two weeks. He has arthritis in his knees and back, and has been prescribed several medications. We watch him as he walks slowly with his back bent from his hut to our health post and think he could well be the 105 years he insists he is. One day Nana explained he had no money, so we agreed on a bunch of plantains (big bananas you have to fry or to cook in order to eat them) in exchange for the medicine. Satisfied, Nana crept back to his hut. Later that day, we were moving the mobile clinic car to the exit of the village when suddenly we saw something big jumping from the bush into the road. At first, we thought it was an animal, maybe a monkey, and then we realized it was Nana with the promised bunch of plantains on his back, which was not bent and he was not walking slowly. He was smiling…