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Improving Health Care in the Kumbungu District in Northern Ghana

BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT

Basic medical care for the population in Ghana is inadequate, especially in rural regions of the poorer north. Due to the poorly developed transport network in northern Ghana, many villages are remote and health facilities are difficult to access. Treatments for patients are therefore often carried out too late which leads to serious problems, especially in medical emergencies. Among other things, this results in a high maternal mortality rate and, in combination with insufficient diagnostic and treatment options for pregnant women, an above-average infant mortality rate. Other problems in northern Ghana include malnutrition, as well as tropical diseases and infection risks from bacteria and viruses. An overall difficult access to clean drinking water, even in the few hospitals on site, exacerbates the situation. In addition, these hospitals are only able to meet the requirements for equipment and the qualification of their staff to a limited extent.

Kings Medical Centre (KMC) is the only hospital in the districts of Kumbungu and Tolon in the Northern Region of Ghana. It was founded in 2006 and provides basic health care to the more than 170,000 residents of the two districts. In the case of serious illnesses, patients must be referred to Tamale Teaching Hospital, which is an hour’s drive away. The project builds on an already existing cooperation between the hospital in Botanga and the association Unterstützung der med. Versorgung in Ghana e.V. (Support of med. Supply in Ghana, VUmVG). It is intended to contribute to the improvement of health care in the Kumbungu District.

PROJECT OBJECTIVE

The project strengthens the professional competences of the medical staff of the KMC, especially in the areas of infection control and pediatrics, and improves the infrastructural conditions for prevention and diagnostics. In this way, it helps to improve local health care and reduce child mortality in the region.

The project contributes to the achievement of the third global sustainable development goal, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The project also contributes to poverty reduction, the reduction of hunger and improved access to water and sanitation (SDGs 1, 2 and 6).

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Improved infection prevention and control and water supply
At the KMC, a special hygiene team is set up and trained with the support of the medical staff of the VUmVG in order to better prevent and contain infections. This is also intended to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases into hospitals and to prepare for the early detection and management of epidemics. Appropriate protective clothing, equipment and consumables such as disinfection material are procured.

In order to raise public awareness for existing infection risks, special radio programmes and brochures for education and information are planned.

To stabilize the supply of clean water to the KMC, an additional well is drilled, and the water reservoir’s capacity is expanded.

Expanded diagnostic capabilities
The diagnostic capacities in the KMC laboratory are being expanded in order to not only diagnose common clinical pictures, but also to be able to carry out analyses. This requires the procurement of various instruments as well as training by laboratory specialists of the VUmVG for their use and maintenance. In addition, new possibilities of telemedicine are being tested with the project partners at the Klinikum Dortmund and the Tamale Teaching Hospital, for which a stable Internet connection will be set up at the KMC.

Better treatment options for newborns
To reduce the infant mortality rate, medical treatment options for newborns are being developed at the KMC. This is done through the procurement of medical equipment for the establishment of a neonatal unit and various trainings for the medical staff. Internships of KMC employees at the Dortmund Clinic are also planned to expand their competence.

Reduced malnutrition in young children
The Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre, which is affiliated to the KMC, serves to combat acute malnutrition in young children. In order to counteract the lack of build-up food for the children’s supply, peanut-based build-up food is produced at the KMC itself. The necessary machines are procured. In addition, information events take place in the region, where information is provided about the causes of malnutrition, healthy nutrition and the offer of the nutrition center. The offer of family planning at the KMC is supported in order to make contraceptive methods known and affordable.

Expanded competencies in surgical techniques
To expand the competencies of the specialist staff responsible for operations at the KMC, telemedical training courses and internships for individual KMC employees take place at the Dortmund Clinic. In addition, instrument sets are procured in order to be able to carry out operations such as laparotomies and hysterectomies professionally on site.

Setting up a mobile clinic
To better reach remote rural areas for prevention programmes, health campaigns, and emergency operations, a vehicle for transporting a medical team and its equipment will be procured and equipped as a mobile clinic.

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Brief project description

Title: Improving Health Care in the Kumbungu District in Northern Ghana
Term: June 2021 – February 2023
Region: Ghana, Kumbungu District
Sector: Health

Supported by: State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia

Partners and actors

  • Kings Medical Centre (KMC) in Botanga in northern Ghana
  • Unterstützung der med. Versorgung in Ghana e.V.
  • Klinikum Dortmund gGmbH
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