Two resident public health nurses on call 24/7 will save lives every day when construction of the Nurses Residence is complete.
My favorite time of year is the first week of August when GMHope runs its annual reading camp at Akramaman in Ghana, West Africa. Seeing the adorable faces of the excited children (up to 100 of them) brings me to tears. Life is not easy in the village.
We constructed two fine schools in Akramaman: St. Paul’s nursery/kindergarten and St. Paul’s primary. Both were given to Ghana Education Service as public schools. We built a public health clinic. We teach good hygiene to moms and children, but it only takes a small mosquito to disrupt everything. This week was no exception.
Day 1. Edith, throws up at camp and her fever is high. We send her to the clinic. She has malaria. They give her drugs. I pay 12 cedis ($3.75) for the visit and drugs. She waits until camp is done for the day and takes the grueling 40-minute tro-tro ride home (think of an old 20-passenger bus with broken seats, no shocks, and no air conditioning on a very dusty, pothole-filled, dirt road). She does not return until Wednesday.
Day 2. Nora spikes a fever during reading camp, but does not want to go home. She has malaria, but has already been to the clinic and has meds at home. She is finally sent home and returns the next day.
Day 3. Joseph spikes a fever and asks to go home. He has malaria. Joseph has spent many days at the clinic for malaria and worms. He has trouble learning due to repeated infections. He is the dearest and sweetest boy and my heart breaks for him.
Day 4. Another boy, Daniel, is taken to the clinic for malaria. This time the bill is 10 cedis.
Day 5, Friday. It was the epic day. Patience got sick, off to the clinic. Malaria! Again! Anna, one of the cooks was dehydrated from malaria. She needs IV fluids, 61 cedis, I pay the bill. She spends the day at the clinic. As I am visiting the clinic, a man comes running from the village carrying a limp child who is foaming at the mouth. The distressed mother is screaming and crying, running barefoot along the dirt path. Bryan Woolston, our photographer drops his equipment to rush to the aid of the man. I run to the mother to offer comfort. The child, a boy age 3, has malaria. His mom did not seek treatment, but chose traditional treatment of herbs and sponge baths. The baby’s temperature rose so high he began having convulsions. In the arms of the nurse he is comforted and treated. His life has been spared. One little mosquito causes so much pain, especially to the little ones.
According to UNICEF in Ghana
- 5 million people contract malaria every year
- Approximately, 20,000 children die from malaria every year (25% of the death of children under
- The estimated economic burden of malaria is 1-2 percent of the gross national product of Ghana.
I am so thankful to so many who have faithfully donated as we built the clinic and are now building the nurses residence. The two-bedroom apartments are roofed and have fine windows. We are working on the electrical system, then the finishing and a water tank. When we are able to finish this residence, two public health nurses will be on call at the clinic 24/7. Lives are being saved every day, but even more will be saved when the nurses are there full time.. What a blessing for more than 15,000 people, thanks to all of you who have helped. Donate today and save a life.