Areas of Impact
It has always been a priority for us to know our clinic has the back-up support of the District Hospital, which is about an hour away. We need to know, for instance, if one of our patients needs an appendectomy or a cesarean section, there will be a place to find such care. At the district hospital, the very dedicated Dr. Frank serves as the medical superintendent of this hospital and 23 clinics. He is the only physician/surgeon for the entire hospital district. Working with a network of charities, hospitals, and private foundations, we have been able to provide supplies and equipment for the District Hospital. Through these efforts, we have helped Enchi Government Hospital to be named Number 1 District Hospital in the Western Region two years in a row. We hope that one day, the hospital will be rewarded with a second doctor.
Electronic Medical Records
Regional Blood Bank
PhaaseID: We teamed up with Noguchi Memorial Research Institute and the Government of Canada to launch the only biometric-based electronic medical record in Ghana. Although the system was first developed as a vaccine registry for mobile health vans and temporary clinics in rural village, PhaaseID has proved valuable in every clinical setting. In the next year, we will add an intra-net, allowing medical facilities to access records even when the internet is not available.
Typhoid: In Western Africa, many deaths attributed to malaria are actually caused by typhoid fever. The burden of typhoid infection is high in our area of Ghana, typhoid in Africa has largely been overlooked because it kills school-age children, while most studies target deaths in “children under five.” The Yonkofa Project has advocated for the typhoid research community to study the burden of this disease in rural Ghana. We have finally succeeded in having Ghana, and specifically the communities we serve, included in a multinational surveillance study. This will determine the burden of typhoid and other salmonella infections in our area, the first step in getting one of several available typhoid vaccines approved in Ghana.
Blood Bank: Our region does not have a reliable blood supply because of lack of government funding and blood spoilage due to power outages. One of The Yonkofa Project directors obtained donations of the equipment necessary to set up a sizable blood bank at the District Hospital. Due to a combination of super-insulated and solar technologies, the laboratory will be able to operate and store blood safely for long periods without electrical power.
Clinic Buildings: The Yonkofa Project’s clinic building effort adds to the health infrastructure of the region and creates a much-needed site for patients to go and receive medical care. Our final step is the interior finishes of the clinic building. We suffered a set-back in our timeline due to a cargo container that was delayed for 6 months. Finally, all the supplies to finish the clinic arrived at the site this week. The remoteness of our location makes things more complicated, but this same remoteness is why the clinic is so badly needed.
Clean Water: The Yonkofa Project has teamed up with EcoWater to bring water from our well down to the villages below. We are also testing the local wells so Ecowater can provide water purification systems in situations where the boreholes have been contaminated by mining.
Distribution of Supplies: We have been able to assemble cargo containers that have a mix of critical medicines, as well as supplies and equipment. We work with other charities to ship these containers to Ghana. Our volunteers travel to Ghana and distribute the supplies to clinics and hospitals. They installed donated equipment, instruct staff on use, and trained local technicians on maintenance and repair.
When the village elders first dedicated the land to The Yonkofa Project, we felt as if we had been handed the keys to the community. The elders trusted that we were there for the reasons we said, that we would complete the project, and that the villages would benefit from our healthcare. What we realize now, is that we were not given the keys to the community, we were the community’s key to a larger community– the global health community. Our purpose has expanded, and a larger number of people have benefited from our presence, because we have been able to advocate for our children and the community to the world. Yonkofa means “a coming together in friendship” –I think we have done exactly that. Thank you for being part of this coming together.
Do you remember a doctor or nurse who made a difference in your life? A dedicated contribution to Yonkofa thanks them and honors their work.