Friday, April 15, 2022.
By Dr. Kofi Effah
Today marks exactly twenty years since I started work as a Medical Officer in Catholic Hospital, Battor. During this period I spent 4 years to train as a Specialist Obstetrician Gynaecologist in the Ghana College of Surgeons (3 years in Korle Bu and one year in Battor; yes we the pioneers in the Ghana College of Surgeons spent one year out for our ‘District Rotation’). I also spent one year in Berlin, Germany, studying Gynaecologic Oncology.
This means I have been ‘working on the ground’ in Catholic Hospital, Battor for 16 years. This makes me the longest serving Ghanaian Medical Doctor in the history of the hospital.
I have given my all – time, energy. I have not engaged in any private practice in these 20 years, investing everything in making the system better.
Times have changed. Twenty years ago, one could not be reached on phone in Battor. Unlike now, many medical doctors refused to come to Battor. There was no internet service in Battor. Some questioned my decision to work in a village where I could not even be reached on phone. I had to go to the next town (Mepe) to queue and pay to use a noisy radio phone to make a phone call. I had to travel all the way to Sogakope to use the Internet (I wrote on sports – Ghana football – as a hobby and sent articles twice a week to my editor).
Have I wasted my time?
I leave that for posterity to judge. As I always say: Time will tell.
For those who think ’20 years in a village’ is too long, remember Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years.
I am grateful to all who have made my stay in Battor successful, as well as my family that has endured my absence from home for long periods.
I pray that when the time comes for me to bow out, I can say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…”