What started as a family tragedy for a Marymount University alumna turned into a new career path and a way to make meaningful, positive change in her native country.
Nana Konadu-Asare, originally from Ghana and a 2015 graduate in Health Promotion, wanted to use her college degree to make a difference and soon gained experience working in a hospital’s emergency room. However, she found her true calling after the death of her uncle in a town outside of Ghana’s capital of Accra.
“Ghana is home, and home is where the heart is,” said Konadu-Asare, who was the first in her family to attend college. “I always knew that I would go back…I just didn’t know it would be for this.”
In February of 2015, her uncle slipped, fell and hit his head, and was rushed to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion. Two days later, he was discharged with a prescription to “take it easy.”
“They told him, ‘he’s fine, go home, rest.’ Unfortunately, a few days later, we found him dead in his house because he had a brain bleed and no one knew.”
Devastated by the loss, Konadu-Asare began researching the medical system and patient care in Ghana and discovered a lack of medical supplies, staff and quality training, with problems compounded in rural areas.
“My uncle’s death kind of opened the door to a different world for me,” Konadu-Asare explained. “I was able to really understand what was going on in Ghana – its health crisis, its health issues, its lack of accessibility – and that’s where I decided to start Nana’s Project and really help as many people as I can.”
Since starting in 2016, Nana’s Project has supported 13 hospitals in Ghana with medical supplies and equipment of various categories including delivery beds, patient lifts, IV kits, operation kits, wheelchairs, gloves, bandages, face masks, lab tests and more. The nonprofit hopes to expand throughout Africa and also provide education and infrastructure improvements to support the sustainability and accessibility of rural communities.
Currently, Nana’s Project is working to fundraise and rebuild the Gyaha Hospital Center in the Akyemansa District of Ghana. Konadu-Asare says it is in desperate need of attention, and improvements will enhance the infrastructure and create medical accessibility for the clinicians and the patients it serves. As of July 1, the nonprofit is about $8,000 away from reaching its goal.
Once it is rebuilt, it will be renamed Hope Hospital Center.
“It’s going to serve five communities, and that’s over 20,000 people,” Konadu-Asare added. “Words can’t even describe how excited I am.”
For more information on Nana’s Project and ways to support its work, click here to visit its website.