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Women in Surgery: Dr. Anastasia Ohene

To celebrate International Women's Day 2023, we're featuring some of the amazing women we work alongside in the fight to increase global surgical capacity.

Was there a time in your career where you felt you weren’t being given the support or resources you were looking?

I have actually always felt supported as an individual. Due to the increasing number of strong and very visible female leads, there is little discrimination.

How many women are in your team currently? Do you feel there is enough, and that they are given the same opportunities to succeed as male counterparts? 

Actually, Anaesthesiology is one of the subspecialties in Ghana with a fair balance of the sexes, tending more toward females than men recently. More females than men, and its always been an equal field from the beginning, at least at my hospital.

What motivates you to keep working in the field? 

Surgery and the thought of being put to sleep can scare even the most stoic of us. I believe if I can make it safe and comfortable for just one person at a time, while allaying their fears, my mission for the day is complete. One day at a time, one person at a time, safe and comfortable.

Has there been a female role model who has had an impact on your career? 

So many Females have made this path easier. Dr Akosua Hemeng, who inspired an interest in anaesthesia in me to. She was determined that the few minutes she spent with a patient would always count as a positive. 

Dr. Eugenia Lamptey of Korlebu Teaching Hospital: had a calmness and a caring attitude that made one feel like the teamwork was not just about work. She cares for her colleagues holistically. 

What advice would you give to a young woman or girl who is looking to enter the medical industry/ leadership position? What do you wish you had known from a younger age? 

Be bold, put yourself out there and try new skills. Don’t be afraid of failure. Find a support system for the days when you get overwhelmed.

What changes need to be made for more women to pursue a career in surgery/leadership? 

The rigors of surgical training when combined with the biological, and societal expectations on women can be daunting. I believe some flexibility in training schedules. Optional longer more relaxed training vs. the current hard and fast system might attract more women into medical and surgical posts generally. Not only women want better life/work balance. 

How has your work affected your relationship with family and friends?  

I have been lucky to have found a good support system of both men and women at work. So colleagues have morphed into friends. My family has been more than supportive so far, they understand weekends, holidays and nights at home are not always possible. I have three young children who do not always understand this, but the assurance that “Doctor Mummy is helping another child, and will be home soon” has been working so far. I do try to immerse myself fully when with family, taking only little work home.

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