I am happy to introduce myself as a former WAAF intern in the projects department who spent about three months with WAAF between October and December 2021. I was a journalism and international business exchange student in the California, USA program at the University of Ghana. My goal was to gain public health experience working with clients at WAAF. I achieved this goal doing peer counseling myself for key population groups, while also gaining greater knowledge of WAAF’s operations and purpose in the health landscape of Ghana.
I had worked at a Gay Men’s Health Center back home and HIV clinic in India prior to my time at WAAF. Despite my lack of educational STEM background, I was welcomed into the work environment at WAAF. At first, I began shadowing client check-ins with P.A. Esinam and then counselor sessions with Ms. Alice and Mr. Johnson. These were very personal experiences with clients that I was happy to be part of. And I was very thankful to the staff for answering my many questions!
I came to assist the PrEP project coordinator and support the facilitators of the PrEP training, which involved getting to know the other Peer Educators, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officers, and Lay Counselors from sister organizations. In addition, I learned, and discussed with staff, the benefits, and drawbacks of the funding structure from international organizations, specifically USAID and FHI360.
My time at WAAF really confirmed my aspiration to work in the clinical field of global health. I pray for greater health care access for Ghana’s people, especially for those who identify within the key populations groups and with whom I had the pleasure of connecting with.
I am so grateful for the hospitable environment for the chance to be immersed in the daily operations/projects at WAAF and for the chance to work cross-culturally on addressing HIV prevention. The work that WAAF staff does is not easy, and the staff works with care and honesty.
Lucky Whitburn-Thomas