Rich Galen

The second hospital was the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital which is a sprawling facility with about 2,000 beds. As a comparison, the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC has about 370 beds. And GW is a pretty big place.

The clinic we visited was the HIV/AIDS patients - specifically women patients. By testing women and treating them with anti-retroviral medicines early in their pregnancies there is a 94 percent chance they will not transmit the virus to their fetus and their baby will be born HIV-free.

The HIV infection rate here is under two percent (as compared to the U.S. infection rate of 0.6%) which is low for Africa. USAID folks told us that HIV is actually decreasing in Ghana as the result of better medical treatment and (again, by African standards) a "middle-class" economy.

On a lighter note we visited a company that makes wooden furniture for sale by places like Pier One Imports. This company was begun by a woman who now hires other women (and men) to work for her. Before the recession the he had over 150 employees; but is down to less than half of that now.

We visited another woman-owned business that takes used glass bottles, crushes them, and melts them down into beads, that are hand-painted and also sold world-wide.

When I was invited to go on this trip the Mullings Director of Standards and Practices (who has claimed the right to veto adventures to places like war zones and such) asked me if it was safe. I told her that Delta has a daily non-stop flight from either JFK or Atlanta. If it's safe enough for Delta, it's safe enough for me.

I'll be getting on one of those daily flights tonight and will be back in Washington by mid-morning tomorrow.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the CIA World Factbook, the GAVI Alliance, and to that furniture manufacturer. Also, some photos from this trip.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at