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Lessons from study abroad

March 14, 2019
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ANN ARBOR – Kiki Ogu’s interest in practicing medicine began at a young age. Her first exposure to obstetrics and gynecology was through A Baby Story, a television series on The Learning Channel that documented conception to delivery in every episode. Now a fourth-year medical student, Ogu still remembers the first time she watched the show.

“I was completely in awe of the role of the physician in the delivery room,” Ogu recalled. “That was in third grade. When I posted that I was specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, my friends from elementary school said, you’ve been talking about this your entire life!”

Since third grade, Ogu has found various opportunities to help her to achieve her dream as an obstetrician-gynecologist physician. One of those opportunities took place during the summer at Komfo Anoyke Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.

“I learned a lot during my time there and was able to be of real service to the community,” Ogu said.
In the hospital, Ogu rotated through the hospital’s family planning clinic, outpatient clinic, and operating room, but found herself drawn to the labor and delivery ward. Apart from clinical duties, Ogu found time to work on a research project about women’s contraceptive choice.

“The goal of the research project was to empower women to have more knowledge about their contraceptive options prior to the actual physician’s appointment,” she explained.

Ogu also noted cultural differences in the way medicine is practiced in the US and Ghana. The most noticeable difference for her was that women didn’t scream during childbirth, even though they hadn’t received epidurals.

“People were clapping and snapping and maybe saying some prayers. But overall, it was very quiet, which is so different from what you see in the hospital here,” said Ogu.

A first-generation American and daughter of Nigerian parents, Ogu originally considered working in Nigeria to widen her global perspective on obstetrics. But U-M’s strong connection in Kumasi led her to choose Ghana instead.

“I hope to work with a diverse patient population in the future. My experience in Ghana led to a greater understanding about how to honor those cultural differences,” she said. “The lessons I learned will help me become a more well-rounded physician.”

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