Having retired from lecturing in Mental Health Nursing at the University of the West of Scotland, Kilkenny man Michael Brennan spent two lengthy periods in 2011 and 2014 volunteering as a nurse teacher at Pantang Hospital — a very large mental health facility on the outskirts of Accra in Ghana.
Here, he delivered a teaching programme to the Nursing and Medical Workforce within the hospital on specific and requested aspects of mental health care.
Living and working in Scotland for many years but originally from Ballasalla, Johnswel, Michael now lives in Broxburn, near Edinburgh. Having trained to be a psychiatric nurse at St Luke’s Hospital, Clonmel during the mid-70s, he still returns home regularly to follow the Kilkenny hurlers — his favourite team. Indeed, they get a significant mention in one of the early entries of his Blog Page.
Michael has spent the last 15 months campaigning and fundraising in order to improve the lives and living conditions of the many poor patients residing at Ward 3 in Pantang Hospital. Ward 3 is a busy Admission Ward in a pretty dreadful state of repair and in desperate need of renovation, refurbishment and upgrading in order to improve the care delivered to the patients who live there.
It is hoped that the donation of £10,000.00 to Pantang will help to make a significant difference to conditions at Ward 3 as well as serving to start a project dedicated to improving the overall standards of nursing and medical care at the hospital.
Michael is very grateful to the many people in Scotland and Ireland who have donated so willingly to his Mental Health Project in Ghana but especially to the parishioners of St John Cantius and Nicholas’ Parish in Broxburn for their very generous donations. Even more amazing was the wonderful contribution of the children at St Nicholas School, the local primary school in Broxburn.
The donation was made by Overseas Payment at the Morningside Branch of the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh to a dedicated Pantang Hospital Account on an afternoon in July. The event was attended by Fr Jeremy Bath, Parish Priest in Broxburn, Derek Buglass, the Finance Director of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and Michael Brennan, the fund-raiser.
Michael is also very grateful for the on-going help and support of Dr Anna Dzadey and Dr Frank Baning, Medical Directors at the hospital, for facilitating his volunteering placements at Pantang. They have agreed to monitor and supervise progress around the upgrading of Ward 3 while also ensuring transparency and accountability in relation to the safe spending of all of the donated monies.
When asked about his experience, Michael spoke of his love for the warmth and hospitality of the people of Ghana. Both of his volunteering periods there proved to be incredibly rewarding and enormously satisfying.
He discovered a compassionate approach to care within the facility but was perhaps most impressed by the real thirst for knowledge and skills evidenced by all of the staff at the hospital.
In the months ahead he plans to continue his fund-raising venture in order to tackle an adjoining rehabilitation ward at Pantang which is also in a deplorable state of repair.
His intention is to return to the hospital next year in order to see for himself the difference the fund-raising has made.
Readers who might wish to contribute to his cause can do so via the Paypal Donate Button on his Blog Page at: http://volunteermentalhealthghana.tumblr.com.