The Salaga North constituency in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region perhaps is the most deprived constituency among the 275 constituencies in Ghana.
The constituency, one of the infant ones in Ghana, was carved out of the Salaga Constituency in 2012. Eight years on, the constituency is far from being called a developing area.
Though some constituencies in Ghana also lack some basic amenities, about 95 per cent of communities in the Salaga North Constituency lack almost all the basic amenities for human development.
With an estimated population of about 35,000 in 65 communities, the Salaga North constituency continues to live without a single resident police officer since it was created in 2012.
Residents in recent times have been subjected to armed robbery attacks that have left scars as some victims still battle severe injuries. Four armed robbery cases were recorded in the first quarter of 2017.
Fifty-three-year-old Mma Memunatu Limpo is still nursing her amputated left limp while Baba Yakubu nurses a shot in the abdomen which has left him passing urine in a tube after a robbery attack at their residence.
A pain stricken grandmother Mma Memunatu Limpo shares her agony.
“I was shot severally in my left limp when I attempted to hide with the little boy who was crying, my son and older grandson were held at gun point at that time. I knew I was losing them but at least I could escape with the little one from harm and that was when I heard the shots.”
A police post with a total of 62 bedroom apartments constructed in 2011 by the then East Gonja District Chief Executive Alhaji Alhassan Mumuni is yet to be made operational while residents continue to live in fear.
“We are perhaps the only constituency in Ghana without a police station or a police post anywhere, the only constituency without a senior high school and also the only constituency with a health facility without a resident doctor. The highest position we have in health is a medical assistant so you can imagine what our people go through to access health care,” Member of Parliament Alhaji Alhassan Mumuni said.
Roads here are either paths or ones that have been abandoned by contractors after commencing work.
The constituency can boast of only one good road and that is the Tamale-Salaga road which stretches through some major communities in the constituency.
Here, dugouts and rivers are the main sources of drinking water as only seven out of the 65 communities have access to pipe-borne water thanks to UNICEF and the Government of Ghana who constructed the standing pipes in these communities in 2011 under the Guinea Worm Eradication Project.
Access to quality health care is a luxury hence the practice of self- medication by many residents here. They do that with the help of some chemical sellers who visit some communities twice in a week.
Residents opine the least distance one has to trek to any of the five CHPS compounds serving the 65 communities is about two hours hence the self-medication.
Again on health, the constituency has only one health center which even lacks a resident doctor, according to the physician assistant Alhassan Yahaya. Though the facility per the national health insurance grading should be a health center, it still remains a CHPS compound.
Access to medical consumables, he revealed, is challenging as sometimes requests placed by staff to the regional health directorate is not what is served.
“Our major problems here are availability of medical consumables and space, we don’t get orders we place for at the region directorate. We have only two beds in the labour ward and less than ten in the detention ward so you can imagine what happens when the facility is overwhelmed with numbers”.
A hard body pick up donated by the Member of Parliament Alhaji Mumuni Alhassan to aid in transferring critical cases from the center has for the past two years parked.
“I arrived here and met the vehicle parked, I inquired and was told the tyres are worn out. Now even if we fix new tyres, we don’t have a driver. The regional directorate tells us we have to pay for the services of a driver if we employ one. We can pay only if we charge patients but they can’t also pay the driver and buy fuel as well, that’s why it’s parked.”
It against this backdrop that Member of Parliament for the Constituency, Alhaji Mumuni Alhassan, organized a stakeholders forum to bring together chiefs, civil society organizations, religious leaders, and the youth in the constituency to brainstorm and identify constituents as a unified force to take the strengths, opportunities, and strategies to fight what he termed their weakness and threats to ensure the needed development
“To identify constituents as a unified force to take into the strengths, opportunities, strategies to fight their weakness and threats to ensure the needed development. It was therefore appropriate to call on all of you especially those of you who were in the parliamentary race with me both in 2012 and 2016 so that we can tap ideas for a collective goal for our people.”
The legislator acknowledges Rome was not built in a day but thinks a constructive approach by both government and other stakeholders can see the needed development.
He urges constituents to own government policies and programmes to ensure a successful rolling out of these policies in the constituency.
“Successive governments have played their parts and will continue to do so but It is therefore incumbent on us to meet and show direction which will eventually make us the true owners of programmes, policies, and project which government and other developmental partners will introduce.”
By Zubaida Ismail|3news.com|Salaga, Ghana