Mafi-Zongo Water Project
AMURT’s involvement in the North Tongu District of Ghana’s Volta Region started in 1990 in Mafi-Dekpoe with an educational campaign to combat guinea worm. The AMURT team soon realized that the best way to help the people would be to provide safe drinking water. In 1998, with the collaboration of DANIDA and Ghana government agencies, AMURT’s first water project was completed in Mafi-Dekpoe, serving ten communities.
The work on the Mafi-Zongo Water Project started in 1995. The area has very little ground water and the people are compelled to rely on harvesting surface water. AMURT built a dam on a seasonal river in Mafi-Zongo in 1996, and over the next few years, combating many obstacles, funding difficulties, etc., the communities assisted by AMURT persisted until finally the water started flowing in 2005.
The dam water is treated by slow sand filtration, which is suitable for rural community projects due its ease of operation and low maintenance costs. The communities constructed a reservoir on the top of the Kpokope mountain, which was a great accomplishment that really pulled the people together. The water is pumped from the water treatment plant to the reservoir, from where it flows by gravity through the 47 km long pipe network.
The project is current serving close to 9,000 people in 23 communities, and is community owned and managed. Major funding for the project comes from AMURT Italy and Amici Nel Mondo, Italy.
Mafi-Seva Clinic and Community Health Program
In 2002 the communities, inspired by the progress of the Mafi-Zongo Water Project, approached AMURT for assistance to open a clinic. The nearest hospital is 40 minutes away by car, and vehicles are scarce in the villages. The communities provided some staff volunteers and the building, and AMURT bought the basic supplies, equipment and furniture, and brought in staff trained at the AMURTEL clinic in Domeabra, Greater Accra Region.
The clinic opened on May 1st, 2003. Like the water project, the clinic is community owned and community managed, and the project was able to be self-sufficient from the first month. AMURT’s role is to help improve and expand the clinic services. The clinic now has it’s own staff quarters and Landrover for out-reach work and emergency referrals. Ghana suffers a critical lack of doctors, and the Seva Clinic staff have few formal qualifications. But through a concerted effort from AMURT, the competence and skill of the staff is steadily improving.
The most common cases at the clinic are malaria, closely followed by diarrhoea, infections and a long list of complaints ranging from headaches to crocodile bites. The maternity ward provides antenatal counseling and delivers two to six babies per month.
In the last two years AMURT and the Seva Clinic have waged a campaign of health education in the Mafi-Zongo Water Project area and adjacent communities. Most of the village meetings have been with women only, prioritizing topics of everyday importance in the area, such as malaria, diarrhoea, dehydration, malnutrition, high blood pressure, family planning and drug abuse, in addition to basic hygiene and sanitation. In the schools we have given classes to the younger children about hand-washing, enlivened by songs composed in the local language. Unwanted teenage pregnancies and consequently unsafe abortions are a major problem in the communities which AMURT and the Seva Clinic have sought to address through sexual health education programs in the secondary schools.
To lessen the dependency on outside resources, AMURT has recently initiated a program of training village health promoters throughout the project area. Women in each community select their candidate to be trained. Initially the focus is on health education and disease prevention. It is our hope to strengthen and expand this program over the coming years so that each village will acquire the medical and leadership skills to make a real impact on the health of their own people.
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