- On January 1, 2015
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Was it causing financial loss to the state or neglecting the needs of the people for political expediency?
Or better still was it a case of lack of transparency and accountability on the part of public official and the inability of citizens to hold such official accountable?
My mind was filled up with these thoughts. I could not savour the sight of an almost completed building left at the mercy of the weather as health professionals lived in and operated from a Head teacher’s office to cater for the health needs of people in the rural area. What better services will they offer from here and will the people access the service or trek to bigger and better facility to access care. Come with me and let us find out more.
The journey from Sekyeredumase to Kyenkyenkura was beautiful. The serene topography was bubbling with nature; greenly vegetation of different kinds and sizes of plants, vast undulating land lying in a mountainous area for large scale agriculture-for the cultivation of cereals and grains as well as roots and tubers- and support by a good rainy pattern. It was a scene to behold and I could not help but talk about it with my colleagues.
‘Ejura Skyeredumase Municipality in the Ashanti region is blessed by nature’.
Soon we were in Ejura township-busting with life-a market centre, which doubles as a transit point from traders and drivers from Brong Ahafo and Northern regions who cross the Volta Lake with the ferry to the Ashanti region. We needed to drive through with care because motorbikes and bicycle riders had taken over the streets.
Taking the route towards the north, we soon branched off the main road to continue our trip. We drove through farmlands where lands have been prepared awaiting cultivation. It was a quite route of about 18 kilometres. We met no vehicle, no motorbike and no human being. There was silence in the vehicle; we did not know how long it was going to take us to our destination. The staff from the Municipal Health Directorate continued to assure us that ‘we will get there soon.’ Just then we saw ahead of us some three men chatting in the middle of the narrow rough road- which could pass as footpath- my colleague asked the Operations Support Staff (driver) ‘do you keep any cutlass or equipment in this vehicle for self defence when driving through quite places such as here?’ The response was in the negative. I could sense that we were uncomfortable and somehow afraid. Being in the front seat my brain quickly played back an armed robbery attack on staff in which I was involved on official trip from Donkorkrom in the Afram Plains to Mpraeso in Kwahu. I sieved. We drove past these men and soon arrived at our destination-Kyenkyenkura, a village popularly called KKK.
We were greeted first by the basic school as we entered the community. The health staffs were having lunch under a huge tree on the school compound which also served as an extension of their office. But there was nothing strange about it. After all, I come across health professions in the city of Accra providing services to women and children under trees. However, this feeling was short-lived as we were ushered into the supposed Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compound. It was a school cum health facility with the health staff providing healthcare from the head teacher’s office. The five member team, led by a middle aged midwife attends to minor ailments, provide antenatal care, conduct deliveries, offer family planning services and perform outreach services for adjourning villages.
A tour of the head teacher’s office revealed that it had been divided into three. The first was used as a consulting room cum recovery ward, the middle and smaller room served as the labour ward, medicine room and storeroom while the last was the residence of the midwife. I shook my head and asked rhetoric questions. ‘Is this the sleeping place for someone’s wife and mother in the name of service to country? ‘Is this where our mothers deliver our future leaders?’ ‘How do pupils react observing and listening to women wailing in labour pains while school is in session?’
What infuriated me the more was getting to know that, a six room building under construction for use as CHPS compound had come to a stand still for the past two years. ‘For what reasons’ I queried. “Hmmmm! This building you cannot talk about it. It has political under tone’’.
This was the initial response I got? It was difficult for me to comprehend that the former Member of Parliament (MP) who initiated the project could not complete it with his share of the common fund or health fund before he lost his seat in the 2012 elections. The municipal assembly worked has not worked on it whiles the new Member of Parliament has used his share of the common fund to construct a new CHPS compound in a different village. Do the people of Kyenkyenkure not deserve better? For how long would they continue to wait for the building to be completed? Who is asking public office holders questions about the situation? ‘Will Assembly members and citizens mobilise to hold duty bearers accountable including MPs? As we wait for the answers, KKK will have to hope that soon the CHPS compound would be completed and handed over to them.
I left KKK disillusioned, angry and not believing that having come this far as a country, rural communities could continue to suffer or perish by the indecision, actions and inactions of the very people who have been given the responsibility to cater for them. I felt distressed by the situation as we journeyed back and soon forget about scenic landscape, farmlands and robbers. It was indeed an experience.
Story by Harriet Nuamah-Agyemang, Programme Officer, SEND-GHANA