The BC Nursing Students Association is hosting a rummage sale on campus in September to raise funds for Ashan Community Hospital in the city of Kumasi, Ghana. With the help of the rummage sale and other upcoming events, the NSA hopes to raise enough money to meet an agreement they have made with the hospital to provide a certain amount of supplies by the end of October.
The rummage sale will have items of all kinds, including school supplies for the new school year, items for crafting and kids clothing. In October, the NSA will host a “Mocktail party,” complete with Ghana-themed drinks and a silent auction.
Stephanie Carpenter is the secretary of BC’s NSA and is leading the Uplift Ghana project. “As nurses and students, we really care about global health and getting people medical treatment,” explained Carpenter.
When she heard about the opportunity to lead this project, she jumped on it. “I think it’s a right to get proper medical treatment, no matter where you’re born and no matter who you are,” said Carpenter. “I feel super strongly about trying to get medical treatment for these kids and the community.”
Beyond just donating medical supplies, Uplift Ghana’s goal is to create a long-term partnership between Ashan hospital and the Nursing Student Association. It all started with a trip that Jacqueline Jihong, the NSA faculty adviser, made to Kumasi in 2006. While volunteering with a local orphanage there, she found out that a hospital was being built in the same area.
The hospital is one of the few hospitals in Kumasi, the capital of Ashanti, and it is currently in need of supplies. According to Carpenter, in a room that could hold 20, the hospital currently has only two beds, forcing staff to treat remaining patients on the floor. Carpenter said that in addition to beds, the hospital is in need of essentially all medical equipment, including “syringes, gauze, gloves, sanitization equipment and EKG machines.”
The hospital is in need of supplies and Jacqueline’s students have a need as well. As nurses in training, each student in the program is required to undergo a preceptorship, a type of medical internship, in their sixth quarter of school. During this time, students work in a hospital and are mentored by the staff in residence and receive on-the-job training.
Through Uplift Ghana, nursing students will be able to complete this requirement in Kumasi. This would be the first time BC nursing students have ever gone overseas to complete their preceptorships. For both the students and the hospital, “it’s a win-win,” Carpenter said.
Uplift Ghana is unique in that the NSA is working with the hospital throughout the entire process, including purchasing and shipping the supplies straight to the hospital. With other fundraisers of this nature, “It’s hard to know exactly where your money is going,” Carpenter said, but with Uplift Ghana, “it’s going straight into the medical supplies.”
Since the hospital is open to the whole community, it needs to serve any type of problem that may come up. If the project is successful, the Uplift Ghana team hopes to send “a constant stream of medical supplies.”
The NSA will continue to take donations for the rummage sale in the main office of the new Health Sciences Building from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Carpenter said they are especially looking for more school supplies, but any gently used items will be appreciated.