With the aim of building a long-term presence of cleft lip and palate treatment and rehabilitation in the community, we support the development of local, multi-disciplinary medical teams. Here, we shine a spotlight on Nana from Ghana.
Nana Akua Owusu is one of two Speech and Language Therapists with the Transforming Faces Project in Ghana.
She worked in the United Kingdom for several years before settling back in Ghana. Nana now has a private practice with an Audiologist and she is also the founder of a charity that provides speech and language therapy to children with communication disabilities in Ghana. She joined the team in 2009.
She has a strong interest in developing mid-tier support in local communities to provide speech therapy to cleft clients who cannot travel long distances for therapy.
“It made sense to be part of the team and help all these people who did not have support of a speech therapist after their surgery. It was important to me,” she says.
Nana describes her role as a speech therapist:
She has recently taken up the position of Clinical Tutor with the School of Allied Health Sciences and hopes to help create a formal speech therapy department.
She recognizes, however, that this will take time to create a team because the role of the speech therapist is not always well understood.
Nana attended the 12th International Cleft Congress in Orlando and was interested in new techniques in treating speech difficulties, setting up and maintaining speech therapy support in “hard to reach” communities and evaluating the outcomes of team care.
She felt re-assured after hearing about what others were doing in her field while at the Conference.
What’s her inspiration?
“Something innate pushes me to do what I do…When I am able to give parents or children something that puts a smile on their face and they leave smiling or they leave a bit more relaxed.”