Written by: Marian Roberts
Sekyere Krobo is a small farming community within the Mpohor Wassa East District in the Western Region from where most of Ghana’s natural resources are derived. Residents predominantly engage in cocoa farming and gari processing which is mostly done by women for commercial purpose. “Fante” is the native language. For the past ﬁfteen years, Sekyere Krobo has had only one Community Clinic which also serves thirteen other communities. All the staff of the clinic used to reside outside the community which made it difﬁcult for them to travel to the clinic at short notice to handle emergency cases, especially maternal care and child delivery cases. According to residents, although they had a clinic, they did not have skilled health workers. This is because health workers lived outside the community and seldom report to the clinic for work as they do not have transport. Women had to deliver their babies at home without skilled health staff. This is one of the reasons for high infant maternal mortality rates.
Nana Okai Boadu, Chief of Sekyere Krobo, said community members had to walk to the district capital which is over an hour to access skilled health staff. He disclosed that elders of the community had complained to the District Assembly about the need for nurses’ quarters on several occasions but their complaints yielded no positive results. “We had almost given up when World Vision introduced the Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) approach to us in 2013.
We were divided into groups of men, women, youth and children and sensitized on the need to hold government authorities accountable for provision of basic amenities. Afterwards, the community selected seven of us to become the CVA committee members” Nana Okai Boadu recounted.
The committee developed an action plan and listed the needs of the community including nurses’ quarters and a school library. The committee then petitioned the Ghana Health Service and the District Assembly on the need to provide nurses’ quarters. This time the authorities responded.
“We now know that together we can ﬁght for and obtain services to our beneﬁt. Through CVA, we have been empowered to request services from the government. Today, we have succeeded in getting the government to construct nurses’ quarters
The newly constructed nurses’ quarters
We couldn’t have done this without the empowerment CVA gave us. We have also succeeded in lobbying a construction company to supply us with two packets of rooﬁng sheets to renovate our school’s workshop” he added.
Madam Cecilia Antwiwaa, midwife of the clinic also agreed that CVA has really been an eye- opener and equipped the community on how to request for certain social amenities in a more civil way and still get results” she added.
“I remember when we used to live outside the community, we were scared any time we hear a knock on our doors at night to attend to women who are in labor. This was because of the long distance we have to walk with the patient to the clinic. But now that we reside on the premises, we are always at the community’s beck and call” Madam Antwiwaa explained.
Regina Botwey, a mother of ﬁve and an orange seller also added “We really suffered when we did not have the nurses’ quarters because the nurses were not available, but now we feel safe and have also been taught by WV, through the mother to mother support group to do exclusive breastfeeding. As mothers we are able to go to ante and post natal clinic regularly because the nurses are always available to attend to us”, Regina said.