Ghanaian Doctor and Model who Survived Ukraine-Russia War Begins New Life in Canada (Photos)

Ghanaian Doctor and Model who Survived Ukraine-Russia War Begins New Life in Canada (Photos)

  • Joy Ama Owusua Odame is a Ghanaian-born doctor and model married to a Ukrainian and resides in Canada
  • On February 24, 2022, the native of Odumase Krobo and her spouse survived Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine
  • Odame spoke exclusively to about her relocation to Ukraine, education, profession, marriage, and surviving the war

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Ghanaian doctor and model Joy Ama Owusua Odame relocated to Canada to start a new life following Russia's unprovoked war on Ukraine.

When the Russia-Ukraine war broke out on February 24, 2022, Odame and her Ukrainian husband resided in Kyiv. She was happily married, a medical school graduate, and living the good life.

Yet life would take an unexpected turn when Russia launched its first attack on the nation. They had to get away.

Photos of Canadian-based Ghanaian doctor Joy Ama Owusua Odame.
Ghanaian doctor Joy Ama Owusua Odame survives Ukraine-Russia war. Photo credit: dr.jjoy.
Source: Instagram

Odame's husband helped her escape from the war in Ukraine to Romania and then to her native country Ghana, where her life began.

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Odame's early childhood and education in Ghana

Odame was born in Odumase Krobo in Ghana's Eastern Region, spending most of her childhood in Bolgatanga of Ghana's Upper East Region.

"I was raised in Bolga. For ten years, my family called Bolgataga home. My father, a Dutch, was frequently transferred.
''Before moving to Somanya in the Eastern Region, where I attended Vra-Akuse International School, I began my education at Fountain Gate International School in Bolga," she tells

Odame's father moved to Koforidua in the Eastern Region before she had time to get used to living in Somanya. There, she finished junior high school at Madonna School. In junior high school, Odame adored playing soccer, she says to

She aspired to be a lawyer, unlike some youngsters who had no clear idea of what they intended to do with their lives after high school. She desired to practice law because her father was a lawyer.

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"I grew up in a middle-class household. My father is a lawyer now, and my mother is a retired nurse. I am the last of four children who were raised by Christians and who made sure that I attended church every Sunday," she recalled.

Odame never let her desire to carry on her father's legacy stray into a love of Science. She attended Aburi Girls' Senior High School for her first two years of senior high school (SHS) but moved to the US for her final year.

Odame benefits from YES exchange programme and moves to US

She took the YES exchange programme test facilitated by the American Field Services Organization (AFS) at 16. At Tillamook High School in the US, she excelled in continuing her education.

She tells that although she never intended to move to the US, her life has always been unpredictable.

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"When I was 16, I relocated to the US, where I also spent my 17th birthday. I was 17 when I finished high school.
''I was one of the top five students in my class and a good student. Never deviated from that," says Odame.

Odame applied to the AFS office in Accra after finishing high school and was granted a partial scholarship to a US college.

"My parents and I chose to pursue other interests. My older sister is a doctor in Ghana as well. Ukraine was where she finished. I visited the US in the year she graduated.
"When I returned to Ghana. she was fully integrated into the nation's healthcare system. My parents also loved having a doctor and reasoned that having two doctors would be better. That's how I went to Ukraine," she recalled.

Odame's life and education in Ukraine

Even though her parents paid for her medical school at the Kyiv Medical University in Ukraine, Odame said the six-year programme was challenging.

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"It was cheaper than in the US. My parents made sure to cover my tuition. I arrived in Ukraine in December 2014 and took Russian classes there from December through August.
''I began medical school on September 1, 2015, but studying the subject was challenging. Although it was difficult, I made it through those restless nights," she said.

While studying at the university, Odame enjoyed sports games such as soccer.

Odame ventures into modelling for the first time and meets her husband-to-be

Apart from sports, she also found in her first year that she had a new talent for modelling, although her journey into the industry began in her third year.

Odame says she turned to modelling to support her parents because she didn't want to burden them financially. She claims that, at first, being introduced to her was challenging because of her Christian background.

She tells that her husband got her into modelling. He temporarily worked at the university during her first year of medical school before leaving. She remembers how her now-husband introduced her to modelling.

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"My husband spent a brief period working at the establishment. After he left, he contacted me and asked if I would be willing to model for a friend who was starting her clothing brand.
"He requested that we undertake a photo session because he believed I looked excellent. At first, I had no curiosity, but I eventually did. It was a one-time occurrence."

However, in her third year, "someone approached me and said they take different portraits and sell them on photo bank where people buy the images".

"With that kind of photoshoot, I was entirely clothe. I was comfortable. That's where my modelling journey began," she tells

Odame and her lover's marriage and the impact of COVID on her career

Odame and her now-husband started dating after their first photoshoot and grew close. "We started dating''. The couple wed in Ukraine in 2019 before relocating to Ghana for the traditional and white wedding.

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"We travelled to Ghana on December 30, 2021, to do the traditional wedding. We followed it up on January 1, 2022, with the white wedding.

Before COVID ravaged the world, including Ukraine, the couple's life was vibrant.

"I was modelling while we went on vacation in the summer. I was modelling during the summer holidays because I had no classes then, but when Covid hit, I could do it all year round because most classes were online," she tells

Odame had to juggle her education, household responsibilities, and modelling until she graduated in 2021. Despite the difficulty, she says marriage is fun if you meet a partner who shares your objectives.

"If you find the right partner, everything becomes easy. My husband was supportive, especially when I had my final exams.''

Surviving the Russia-Ukraine war

Odame and her husband's plans to start a family were put on hold when Russia invaded Ukraine without warning in 2022.

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According to the BBC, Russia started its unwarranted military offensive against its neighbour, Ukraine, at President Vladimir Putin's orders.

"The war broke out on February 24, 2022. He drove me to the border and left for Ghana. He wasn't allowed to leave ... I left Ukraine in February 2022 and went through Romania to Ghana," she recalled.

Odame begins a new life in Canada

Before Odame left for Canada to begin a new life, she recalls doing clinical at the Nsawam Government Hospital and Juaso Government Hospital in Ghana, where her sister worked previously.

"Besides studying for my license examinations, I work at a pharmacy in Canada,'' she tells

Just three weeks ago, Odame's husband arrived in Canada from Ukraine after being granted permission to leave the military owing to a medical condition.

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