TRQN Participants' Stories
Ghana - Theodora Pepera:
Dr. Theodora Pepera is an experienced doctor in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. George’s Hospital in London, United Kingdom. She is very committed to transferring her skills.
“I want to involve myself in women’s health around the world, particularly in Ghana, my country of origin. This gives me immense job satisfaction. For their Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals Programme, IOM assigned me to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s Polyclinic in Accra, Ghana. The hospital has a monthly attendance of 6,000 patients. In January 2015, I helped to establish a women’s cervical screening centre in the Polyclinic to cater for primary health needs of women; especially those of low income.
I specialized in cervical cancer prevention in the UK and would like to bring those skills to Ghana, where cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, with more than 3,000 new cases per year. During my IOM assignment I trained two doctors and a nurse in the field of colposcopy, a procedure to look for abnormal cervical cells at a pre-cancer stage trained health care practitioners in line with international syllabus for colposcopy.”
Dr Pepera assisted with the setting up of a colposcopy service at diagnostic level, enabling the hospital to screen all women and refer high risk cases for appropriate treatment. Treatment at the pre-cancer level is 95% effective at preventing the disease progressing to cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer screening and colposcopy are services which should be available at primary health care level. The longer term goal is that the primary care specialists I trained can serve as resource persons for setting up similar services in other parts of Ghana. I firmly believe in improving health care for women and lowering the risk of diseases in connection with cervical cancer.”
“I also have a lot of experience with high-risk, complicated pregnancies. With this expertise I also work as a volunteer for the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine ‘Making it Happen’ Programme. It runs in 12 countries across sub Sahara Africa and South East Asia in order to try and reduce the maternal and newborn mortality and still birth rates in these countries.”