When Barbara Kemp, clinical occupational therapist manager, first became an OT she never thought she’d help set up an OT school in Ghana. Here she shares why she’s so proud to be an OT on World OT Day.
My name is Barbara Kemp and I’m an occupational therapy manager for specialist services but I was OT lead when the Ghana project started in 2012.
It started with a conversation with a colleague, Dr Gbenga Afolabi, about supporting an OT in Ghana to develop and set up a training course and OT services there.
I was excited to get involved as I felt it would be a good personal as well as professional experience and I was inspired by the enthusiasm of the OT lead in Ghana who wanted to set up the OT school in his own country.
I worked with two other OT staff, Susan Watts as Stroke specialist and Lisa Hopper who had a role as student on the project and Brenda Longstaff from our International Team.
My role in the project was to act as advisor and provide my experience of setting up OT services as well as how best to develop OTs from scratch.
The project was a great success we helped to establish the first OT school in Ghana which has been training OTs for 7years now.
The thing I enjoyed most about the project was meeting the new students and other healthcare professionals who despite the challenges were passionate about the need and desire to make this work.
It also gave me the opportunity to travel and visit another country and culture which was a very humbling experience. I really feel we learnt a lot as well from the experience. It’s something I’ll never forget. It increased my understanding of the profession and how other cultures and countries cope with the demand of healthcare and how we all can make a difference and learn from each other.