Patients in deprived Ghana seen by doctors for the first time

A non-profit organisation has offered free medical services to over 5,000 people in 66 villages in Sawla-Tuna-Kalba; one of Ghana’s deprived districts in the Northern Region.

With a population of about 28,000, the district’s only health facility, the St. Joseph’s Health Centre, serves the health needs of the people but years of neglect and under-development coupled with increasing population growth, puts pressure on the facility.

Also, about 95% of inhabitants, who are mainly maize and millet farmers, are poor; and as a result unable to access basic healthcare.

Malaria, malnutrition and skin diseases such as Psoriasis, ringworm and eczema are prevalent in the area, with other cases of hypertension, rheumatism and diabetes. About 100 people die each year from snakebites.

As part of its special health development programme, African Rights Initiative International (ARII) visited the district with skilled physicians, nurses, midwives, logisticians, lab technologists, disease control experts, epidemiologists and other medical and non-medical professionals, to deliver lifesaving medical care to the people in some of the most remote, impoverished and forgotten villages of the district.

At the end of the weeklong voluntary service, 1,125 poor people were registered free under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The Doctors in the Gap midwives conducted safe deliveries as the only midwife serving the over 28,000 people was on her annual leave at the time of the programme.

Over 5,000 people received free medicare, diagnosis and treatment as some of them were seen by doctors and nurses for the first time in their entire lives.

Many children suffering from acute malaria and malnutrition were saved by the Doctors in the Gap Team, as they couldn’t have survived the next day.

As part of building strong community response system to address basic and broader health challenges, the team educated inhabitants on basic preventive health measures and how they could seek early treatment.

Some inhabitants also received cloths donation. Also in a bid to strengthen healthcare provision in the Kalba Sub-District, the health centre, which serves over 28,000 people, including people along the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso stretch, was presented with hospital and surgical items.

Some disabled persons both children and adults, also benefited from free wheelchairs and walking aids to make their movement much more freely without the help of others.

The ARII Doctors in the Gap addresses the African human resources for health crisis by recruiting and placing healthcare volunteers at health care centers in the most disadvantaged communities.

Chairman of ARII, Alex Asiedu, says the organisation is committed to the future of healthcare needs of Africa adding that there is a huge gap that needs to be bridged.

“We have a shared responsibility as a nation, as a continent and as a people; to sit and reflect about our own humble contributions in fixing the problems in the healthcare system.

Several thousands of people continue to die from causes we could easily contain. The World Health Organization estimates that over 4 million more health workers are needed to bridge the healthcare gap, with 1.5 million needed for Africa alone.” He noted.

Prince Williams Oduro, Executive Director, ARII, said there is the need for more people to reach out to the underprivileged in providing healthcare and other social needs.

“Each minute delayed in reaching out to these under-privileged souls with the support they need so desperately, we lose more lives and the number cannot be counted”.

The Director of Health Services for the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District Mr. Thomas Sennor was full of praise for the organization.

The ARII like in several other projects received support from its international development partners such as the Atlantic Trust Holding and Atlantic Holdings of Dubai.

This project was also supported by Danadams Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Health, Agape Samaritan International, MDS-Lancet Laboratories Ghana Limited, Jireh Eye Clinic, Diet Therapy Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and Ernest Chemist among others.

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