Thank you for taking the time to read about an important project we hope to be able to fund and begin THIS YEAR. You can make a secure donation through our PayPal site, by simply clicking on the Donate button above. If you prefer not to use PayPal, please contact either Godfried or Sara directly for other options.
Now please allow me to share with you why this project is so important and why your contribution is so greatly needed.
Last year, Godfried and I were in Dogbekope and had the opportunity to meet and talk with the nurse in charge of the small "Level A" clinic in the village. Level A is the lowest level of care the Ghana Health Service provides to communities. By law, the nurses who staff the clinic are only allowed to provide first aid, test and treat uncomplicated malaria and other illnesses, and provide well-child checkups and immunizations. It's a blessing that Dogbekope has at least this small three-room clinic, because not all remote villages do. But the need is greater that what the clinic can provide.
The photo above is from a community durbar (official gathering) that we were invited to last year in Dogbekope - the topic was malaria prevention. In the three months previous to the durbar, there had already been over 50 cases of malaria in this one small village, and three people had died. Malaria is not a fun disease. If it's not diagnosed and treated immediately, it quickly becomes life threatening due to dehydration and fever. The patient needs IV fluids and fever reducing drugs, and stronger antimalarial medications given by injection. This requires hospitalization.
The poverty in Dogbekope is staggering. Most people can't even afford to go to the little clinic when they first become ill, so they allow their illness to progress until they're in dire need. To get to the hospital, they have to ride on the back of a motorbike because there is no other public transportation. But they can't afford the hospital, or the advanced treatment, or even the cost of the motorbike ride. And so? Either they gradually recover, or they die. To put this in perspective, a visit to the Level A clinic and a round of meds for the beginning stages of malaria costs about the equivalent of US five dollars. If the choice is spending that five dollars on food for the family and being treated when sick, the family comes first. Most of us cannot even begin to relate to making a choice like that over five dollars!
Here's another real-life story from Dogbekope. The village is tucked away back in the bush, miles from a paved road. People get around by motorbike, or they walk from place to place. The nearest hospital is about an hour's drive. Pregnant women have a choice to make when it comes time for them to deliver - have the baby in the village under the care of one of the village midwives (untrained elder women) in less than sanitary surroundings - or ride on the back of a motorbike with her support person in back of her (yes, that's three adults on a motorbike, and one of them in labor) to deliver in the hospital. It happens frequently that the baby comes before they arrive at the hospital and she delivers on the side of the road.
So last year, one of the women from the village went into labor, and it wasn't going well. The village midwife couldn't handle the situation. The woman headed off to the hospital on the back of a motorbike, but they had to stop part way there for her to deliver. She and the baby both died. Can you imagine what that must have been like? I cried when Godfried told me about it.
Apologies for the photo above - I know it's shocking. This fellow had badly burned himself nine days before he came to our medical mission clinic last October. He had not been able to afford to go to the hospital. He arrived with this huge wound wrapped in cloth, that had become dusty and dirty. Our nurses did what they could for him, and encouraged him to be treated by a doctor - we doubted he would go.
We saw some appalling examples of untreated conditions on that mission. Wounds, cancers, asthma, unbelievably high blood pressures, severe malaria, sexually transmitted infections, and probably a few cases of HIV. We learned what we need to be prepared for on future missions. But the fact is that while a quick triage, consultation and enough meds for a short period of time is somewhat helpful - most of the patients we served badly need follow up care and a regular supply of meds. We did what we could, knowing it wouldn't be enough over the long run.
WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN GREATLY IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF POOR PEOPLE IN REMOTE VOLTA REGION VILLAGES!
Everyone has a right to health. If you've read the rest of our website, you will know that we believe that good health is comprised of many factors, and over time we hope to address all of them in Dogbekope and other villages in Ghana. But let's start here, with the medical clinic.
An upgrade to Level B1 will support the community's health in the following ways:
Higher level of involvement from the Ghana Health Service (GHS)
GHS will provide more highly qualified practitioners
Onsite infirmary beds
Labor and Delivery beds and a trained midwife
Onsite laboratory for improved diagnostics
Storage facilities for a vaccines and a wider range of medications
The clinic in Dogbekope is accessible by a short walk to many nearby poor, remote villages and residents of these villages will also be served.
We have additional plans for the medical clinic:
Volunteer medical and dental practitioners from the U.S. and Europe will provide ongoing care at no charge to patients
Clinic will provide a site for student interns from schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, etc.
While the clinic will be staffed by GHS personnel, medical mission groups and interns will supplement what they are able to provide. The clinic will be a site for gaining education and experience in the medical field, and cross-cultural exchange of ideas.
A further goal is to make the clinic a model of good stewardship of the environment and self-sufficiency through the incorporation of:
solar energy to run a refrigerator for vaccines and meds and power an air conditioner for the in-patient rooms
compost toilets to provide a safe form of fertilizer from human waste and improve sanitation in the village
underground cistern water catchment system to collect clean rainwater for use in the clinic
HERE'S OUR PROGRESS SO FAR:
We have the support of the Chief of Dogbekope, who has granted us a large parcel of land on which to build the clinic (see photo above)
We have the support of the Ghana Health Service, Ketu South Municipal District
We have the GHS mandated architectural plans for a level B1 clinic
We have an estimate for the main structures required by GHS
We have interest from Engineers Without Borders in assisting with site development, designing a water catchment system and solar energy, and partially funding the project
And, we have connections with numerous organizations that provide free medications, medical equipment and furnishings
NOW WE NEED YOUR HELP!! GOAL 1: LEVEL B1 MEDICAL CLINIC and STAFF RESIDENCE - COST: $30,000 US Dollars * note - the Ghana Health Service requires there be a residence for staff before the clinic will be allowed to open
Once we have secured funding for the clinic and staff residence, our further goals are:
GOAL 2: Solar panels and installation GOAL 3: Water catchment system GOAL 4: Compost toilet/waste management system * note - we hope to involve Engineers Without Borders in planning and estimating costs for these additional goals
GOAL 5: Guest house to provide lodging for incoming volunteers - with your generous support, we can build a guest house on land adjoining the clinic. This will provide on-site accommodation for volunteers, jobs for village residents, and income to support ongoing projects in Dogbekope and surrounding villages.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Please contact us with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org