FAQ's Ghana Maternity Ward Partnership
Where is Ghana?
Ghana is in West Africa, on the Atlantic coast between Ivory Coast and Togo. It is a 10hour flight from New York to Accra, Ghana’s capital. English is spoken throughout the country. In 1957 Ghana was the first African country to regain its independence, and today enjoys greater stability and safety than other countries in the region.
How did FPC become involved in Ghana?
Our church has members from Ghana, and we have been sending financial support to various ministries there for many years. But in 2014 we sent our first team to discern the calling God has placed on our hearts to be more personally involved. That trip has birthed friendships that bridge the ocean between us, thanks to social media, the Internet, and trips here and there.
Why is FPC building a coalition to fund a maternity ward in Ghana?
On our church’s second trip to Ghana, we spent significant time in Ho with EPC leaders, learning about their ministries and listening to their concerns for their community. One of their outreaches is the Dzemeni clinic and, when we asked which of their projects they need help with, they immediately shared their concern to improve health services with a separate maternity ward. The project is larger than FPC’s resources, so we seek partners to help build this maternity ward together.
Where is the Dzemeni Medical Clinic and who runs it?
The Clinic is located west of Ho and east of Lake Volta. Dzemeni Medical Clinic (pronounced “Jemeny") is run by the EPC and provides essential health services to the region. It was created in 1992 on land donated by the chiefs and people of the community. Funds for construction came from the local church, Presbyterian Answer to Hunger in Germany, and Friends from the Nebraska Conference. The government pays about 45% of staff salaries and the rest is paid from funds generated by the Clinic. Dzemeni Clinic is the second largest facility in the district.
What are the demographics and health issues of the people served by the clinic?
Dzemeni has a population of about 47,000 inhabitants, with more than half being women. About 80% of the population is Christian, 4% Muslim, 4% traditionalist, and about 12% do not belong to any religion. About half are farmers and the rest are teachers, health workers, and local government workers. The clinic provides primary and secondary health care for conditions such as malaria, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and skin infections.
Why is a maternity ward necessary?
A 2010 survey records that 45 infants and 66 children under five die annually, and suggests that a well-equipped maternity ward at Dzemeni can save 10 infants and 15 small children every year. The EPC expects the number of deliveries to double with a wellequipped maternity ward. Currently, new mothers’ and babies’ health is compromised as they recuperate together in one cramped room; some expectant mothers request transfers to larger facilities when their delivery draws near. Specialists do not visit because of inadequate facilities. A maternity ward will allow staff to save more lives, care more effectively for mothers and babies, and encourage specialists to offer their expertise.
How far away is the nearest hospital?
The nearest hospital is a 90-minute drive on very rough roads.
What are the most common maternity complications seen at the clinic, and how well are they able to respond?
The most common complications are retained placenta, bleeding, and malaria during pregnancy. Currently, the Dzemeni facility is not equipped to deal with these situations because of the lack of specialists and equipment; it must refer expectant mothers to a larger facility 90 minutes away.
What new pre- and post-natal care can be offered with a maternity ward?
Current pre- and post-natal care includes immunization of pregnant mothers against tetanus, dietary education, and prevention of HIV transfer from mother to child. Because the care that a mother receives during pregnancy, delivery, and after birth is critical to the well-being of mother and child, new services such as scanning and malaria treatment and minor surgeries such as episiotomy can be added, and perinatal mortality can be reduced by equipment that addresses issues that arise during pregnancy.
How can we be confident that our funds are going to the maternity ward?
Our denomination has an experienced missionary to Ghana, Rev. Josh Heikkila. Josh lives in Accra and, for the last two years, has been advising us and traveling with us to help us understand how best to partner with our brothers and sisters in Ghana. Josh knows the EPC leaders well and is well-respected among his colleagues. He has helped many American churches build partnerships such as ours, and knows how to use the denomination’s tools to ensure that funds raised here will be used there as specified and proper reporting will be done on a regular basis.
Why should we help fund a maternity ward in Africa?
We have an opportunity to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Ghana so that they can serve their community for decades to come. How often do we learn of vetted ministries that are functioning well and just want to expand, where we can impact generations, all in the name of Jesus Christ? If that were not enough reason to support this project, imagine how this medical clinic and new maternity ward could become a focus for future church mission trips, where you can build friendships in Ghana, help at the clinic, and become a advocate for those without a voice. Join us in this partnership.
Representatives from First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield delivered the following PowerPoint presentation at the November 19, 2016 Presbytery meeting in Hartford, CT.
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