Reflections on Ghana

Micah Johnson,
GHLI Fellow

My summer in Ghana went by in a flash. Now that I’ve traded the tro-tros and fufu of Accra for the campus shuttles and dining hall food of New Haven, I’ve had time to step back and reflect on my experience as a GHLI Fellow.

My most salient thought is that the work I started in Ghana is nowhere near complete. Even as my own projects were finalized, I came to appreciate that my summer in Ghana was just one slice of an effort to improve mental health care that has gone on for years and that will continue on for many more. The fight is not over—despite the tremendous progress that has been made, there is so much more to do. I hope to see a transformation of mental health in Ghana over the coming months and years, and I’m already thinking about ways I can help, and hopefully, return.

I’ve become even more impressed with the members of the Ghanaian delegation. Even though they are only a small group, they are able to make a large impact on mental health in Ghana. With so many challenges continuously facing countries around the globe, it is crucial to have a committed group of champions to ensure that important issues such as mental health do not get ignored. We can all take inspiration from the passion and dedication of the Ghanaian delegation.

Finally, I feel extremely fortunate to have had this experience. This summer gave shape to what was initially a vague interest in global health, as I am now beginning to see what it is actually like to be involved in this kind of work. Most distinctively, because GHLI connected me with high-level officials, I was able to get a behind the scenes view of how health policymaking works.

As I continue pursuing a career combining medicine with health policy, I will always be able to look back at my summer in Ghana as the formative experience that inspired me to continue down this path.

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