In 2017, with funding from a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), I spent ten weeks in Kumasi, Ghana conducting research on how occupational therapy may be beneficial for individuals living with sickle cell disease. At the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, I conducted multiple interviews with five individuals living with sickle cell disease. I also traveled to the homes of these individuals to observe how their home environment may be influencing their ability to engage in everyday life with sickle cell disease, and I interviewed healthcare practitioners about the types of services available for these patients. Through my findings, I concluded that individuals living with sickle cell disease in Ghana experience limitations in school, work, taking care of the home and family, socialization, and some leisure activities. Roles affected by sickle cell disease among these patients include the roles of mother, chef, trader, seamstress, television mechanic, and student. Varying beliefs regarding sickle cell disease in Ghana contribute to a heightened sense of stigma around the disease, and a discord exists between patients’ experiences and practitioners’ understanding of how sickle cell disease limits engagement in everyday life. My findings contribute to the understanding of how occupational therapy, an emerging professional field in Ghana, can assist individuals living with sickle cell disease in Ghana.
UNH Undergraduate Research Journal
Lou Ann Griswold, Martin Agyei
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
D'Olympio, Carolyn, "Uncovering How Occupational Therapy Could Benefit Individuals Living with Sickle Cell Disease in Ghana" (2018). Inquiry Journal. 9.