Working Life: Making waves on the radio
Dr Adwoa Danso is finding new ways to reach communities where some health topics are taboo
Profile - Dr Adwoa Danso
Roles - Full-time locum GP in Essex and east London; resident doctor on GN Radio UK, including as host of The Medical Show with Dr Danso; founder of The Clinic Diaries online platform; executive at the Ghanaian Doctors and Dentists Association UK (GDDA UK)
Hours worked - Eight to 10 NHS sessions and additional work
I’m filming a women’s health series for The Clinic Diaries, my YouTube channel. It’s good to vary themes – this one follows the success of a male-focused series. Other episodes have covered pregnancy, contraception and the impact of social media on mental health.
We film at my home (it’s more relaxed that way), joined by family and friends or special guests such as activists or other healthcare professionals.
The group format enables everyone to share a variety of views. Our audience is mainly black and minority ethnic women, and we discuss issues affecting them and women in general, such as the pressure to have children, and a recent report stating black women are more likely than white women to die during childbirth.
Afterwards, I oversee my producer Sarah in editing the footage, before we release the episodes on YouTube.
Weekdays are largely taken up with clinical sessions, so I use Sundays to prepare for my weekly radio show for the Ghanaian community in the UK – typically by reading the newest medical guidelines and the healthcare sections of newspapers – plus Pulse, of course.
I decide the topic the week before, and tell listeners in advance. This time, I’m focusing on menstrual problems. Next is chronic kidney disease. I generally choose issues common in this community; we have covered malaria treatment, hypertension and fertility concerns.
Unfortunately, many medical subjects are taboo in Ghanaian culture, mainly because of deep-rooted spiritual beliefs. This can make it difficult for people to seek help, so I’m proud of how the radio show helps to tackle these barriers.
My co-host, Stanley, is a pro at facilitating discourse. As he doesn’t have a medical background, I brief him with basic clinical information. His lay input brings a fresh perspective, raising points that audiences might be curious about.
In the evening, I have a conference call with the other executives at the Ghanaian Doctors and Dentists Association UK.
We’re organising our annual conference and gala, which will be fundraising for obstetric fistula support in Ghana. There are plenty of details to consider, from sending VIP invitations to selling raffle tickets.
Tuesday is the highlight of every week. After a busy surgery, I head to the GN Radio headquarters in Oval, south London for the weekly show.
I get there early to catch up on local news, checking for anything that is timely for our listeners, who are mostly of Ghanaian origin. Stanley is on hand again, setting up cameras to stream the show to Facebook. This is a key part of our engagement, allowing listeners to submit questions while we’re on air.
Before long, we are broadcasting. Our topic is the impact of heavy periods on a woman’s life and there’s plenty to discuss – sick days off work, relationship problems, period poverty and being ostracised by some communities.
I ask how much a pack of sanitary towels costs in Ghana. A Facebook user quickly responds: it’s 6 cedis – roughly £1. For context, the Ghanaian living wage is 900 cedis per month – around £135.
I aim to advise on the issues we explore but stress that, despite hosting a medical show, I’m not a replacement for listeners’ own GPs, and won’t offer personal advice. They’re generally respectful of this, and are always engaging and keen to discover more. One enquires about the Mirena coil – how it’s fitted, whether the process is painful and the estimated recovery time. Another wants me to debunk myths about fibroidectomy. I try to answer all questions, then recap the key points for those who tune in late.
Towards the end, I reiterate that more information can be found on my social media accounts – @ClinicDiaries on Twitter and TheClinicDiaries on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Tuesday evenings whiz by, and I’m always left inspired after a productive show.
Throughout the week, I keep an eye out for queries or specific areas to pay attention to, ready to do it all over again.