March 10th started with a visit to Achimota Hospital (Photo) located at the suburb of Accra. The hospital stands within the site of Achimota School the most prestigious school of Ghana established in 1927. The school is known for producing a large number of talents through its high ideals as manifested in its school emblem; that (starting in the context of school life), black and white, male and female, should integrate and combine synergistically for the good of all. This idea was revolutionary, especially in the 1920s when the school was established. Achimota hospital used to serve to this school. Many African leaders including three presidents of Ghana after independence are alumni of this school. Achimota school reminds us that nurturing human resource through a long-term vision is always, in any time of history and any nation, the highest priority.
By the way, it is so a ‘British’ style that they have a Golf Course here. It is the distinguished Achimota Golf Club.Top schools in Britain and U.S. often have golf courses within their school premises.
At the hospital, many nurses are working together with the director and doctors (there are four Doctors). They have one computer for the whole clinic. Patients are moved to larger hospitals in the city if surgical operations are needed. About 200 pregnant mothers visit the clinic every day. While we were there a baby was newly born. We were with Drs Greenwood and Were and all hospital people, nurse and patients, were happy to see Dr. Were being so popular. She is truly the heroine of Africa.
We then moved on to ‘Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research’ established by the government of Japan. (Photos are included in the slide show above). The Institute is located within the huge premise of University of Ghana (Ref.1, 2) at Legon, the suburb of Accra. Scientists from University of Tokyo and Medical and Dental University are participating in researches on HIV/AIDS, H1N1, and so on. It is very encouraging to see the progress of research projects moving. I fully enjoyed the tour of the institute as well as active discussion with the scientists.
Leaving the Institute, we headed to next destination, the laboratory used by Hideyo Noguchi 82 years ago. HIH Crown Prince has been here just a day before. The lab is part of the University Hospital of University of Ghana in Accra city, separate from the Legon campus. I noticed the signatures of HIH Prince and Princess Takamado in the guest book dated 1993. What was it like to be here 80 years ago, I wonder. Among the exhibition was a telegram sent from Hideyo to his wife in New York City. The telegram was sent by
‘Western Union’ a telegram and communication service company which I wrote about in the context of ‘Japan as a closed country’. Of course, I saw ‘Western Union’ offices here and there in Ghana and Botswana as I traveled. The service is operated throughout the world except 5 countries including Japan. This is truly a strange situation for a country like Japan.
In the evening, I was invited by HE Ambassador Katagami to a dinner at the Embassy of Japan. The embassy was beautiful with a large garden. This day the weather was not too hot which was a treat for us. ‘Takai’, a specialty of Ghana was served as digestif. The taste was somewhat like Tia Maria, very nice, and I had to control myself from asking for too much.
By the way, Ghana is known for produce of cocoa. It is the nation’s major industry. Also, oil was discovered at Off Shore recently. ‘Ghana’ chocolate is very popular in Japan, but here the chocolate will not melt even at this high temperature. I was told that its taste does not match Japanese or many people, thus may not have commercial value..
Late in the evening, I left to Accra airport heading for Narita via London. I have traveled 18 days since February 23th and thia last leg is for two nights on the plane.
Now this trip is coming to an end.