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Witness
A Nurse's Tale
Lydia returns to Ghana after 15 months working as a nurse in the UK.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2010 13:44 GMT

Filmmaker: Kim Hopkins

The traditional image of a nurse was born on the battlefields of the Crimean war 150 years ago.

Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp, epitomised self-sacrifice in providing care for the wounded and sick.

Nurses in the 21st century are still driven by the same motives, but, their own economic survival is as important as their patients' physical survival.

In Ghana, Lydia Kwashie is a highly trained midwife, but with a family of eight to support, she can barely make ends meet.

The 48 year old mother left behind family and friends in Ghana to seek work as a nurse in the UK.

And she is not the only one. Out of her class of 71 nursing graduates, more than half have left Ghana because conditions even in the best Ghanaian hospitals are dire.

Patients line the corridors on make-shift stretchers while their families have to forage for everything from drugs, to bandages and food.

Despite the difficulties settling in to a new culture, she returns to Ghana after 15 month with tales of independence and a decent salary.

Lydia feels a desire to return but until the government can offer similar protection for state workers in Ghana, her children's future demands that she earns a steady income in Europe.

Filmmaker Kim Hopkins followed Lydia on her first trip back home to Ghana to share the conflicting emotions of pride, joy, guilt and hope.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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