Host Organization Details
NSABA Health Center
Nsaba Health clinic is a rural medical centre that is dedicated to providing Ghanaians in the Agnoa, Nsaba region with health care services. The mission statement for the Nsaba Health Clinic is to provide quality health care to every patient that comes to their clinic.
The staff at Nsaba Health Clinic try to go above and beyond to help people in need of medical attention and ensure that if counselling is required that the patient is able to receive this type of service as well. Although the Nsaba facility is small and there are few staff, the role that this clinic has in providing health care is critical. Increased accessibility to health care for residents in the Agnoa, Nsaba region is a major priority for this centre as they now provide health services to over 50 surrounding rural communities.
Nsaba clinic was founded in 1985 by the Ghanaian government. The reason the government decided that it was necessary to provided funding for this project was because they realized that the need for more hospitals and clinics in rural communities was starting to increase. The Ghanaian Government decided that the community of Nsaba would be a good location for the new clinic because the area was easily accessible to the surrounding communities and because it is located in a densely populated area that comprises of a large number of small rural communities that surround Nsaba. Since the establishment of Nsaba clinic the staff have created a number of public health awareness programs and do their best in treating each patient with the resources that they have.
Like many countries, the health care system in Ghana has challenges in both urban centres and rural communities, however this clinic is focused on rural health challenges.
Nsaba clinic along with many clinics in rural areas of Ghana are faced with various challenges to meet their mandate of providing quality health care to all that visit their clinic. The challenges are vast, however the primary ones that the staff at Nsaba feel are very important to address include: education on services provided, increasing accessibility to communities where no clinic or medical staff are located, the need for improved equipment and better inventory management.
Many people throughout Ghana are uncertain of medical services provided by hospitals and clinics. Elders in many communities can remember the days when it was a long way for them to travel to receive medical attention from a doctor or nurse and therefore most of the time alternative forms of medicines were used. This practice happened throughout all of Ghana for centuries and are still used today. The alternative forms of medicine often include combinations of different plants for certain illnesses, different washes to disinfect wounds and different items put together to make liquid syrups to help stop fever or reduce malaria. These alternative forms of medicine are usually easily accessible and more affordable then travelling to seek medical attention. Although it is very innovative and necessary to find alternative and affordable medical solutions, this has had a very negative impact on how some people view the current Ghanaian health care system.
Since individuals rarely sought out medical care in a hospital or clinic because of the distance they would have to travel or the expensive bills that they would have to pay; they would only go if they were very ill or had been sick for a long time. As a result, when an individual did go it meant that the stage of whatever illness they had was usually very severe. Many people can tell stories of family members or friends who went to the hospital and died shortly after arriving because they had not received the medical attention that they needed before this stage. As a result, some elders in rural and urban communities caution their children and grandchildren from receiving medical attention when they are sick as they have little faith that staff at the hospital or clinic will be able to effectively solve their medical issues and in the end they will end up with large bills while not receiving correct medical advice.
The staff of Nsaba Clinic are trying to demonstrate to the community that services that they offer do help to prevent diseases from escalating if an individual seeks medical attention as soon as he or she develops symptoms. They have done this by creating outreach programs where they go to very remote communities and provide educational seminars, free check-ups to anyone and when they have the resources, provide free medicine and vaccinations. In addition, they conduct talks in schools to help bring awareness to children and teachers about the various services they provide and how they can help treat illness such as malaria, yellow fever and typhoid.
Another challenge is that throughout the country, many communities have no medical facilities in their area and in some cases there are clinics but they are unable to deal with more complex issues due to lack of resources or training. As a result, a person must travel to clinics like Nsaba to receive the medical care they need. Individuals must walk or take public transportation (if it comes to their location) and commute sometimes more than an hour before they are at a medical centre. This is problematic for many who are ill as walking in the heat can increase other challenges like dehydration or heat stroke on top of whatever illness they may have.
This also causes an issue for clinics like Nsaba that currently provide services to over 50 rural communities in their area. The patient load continues to increase but the staff, medical resources and facility does not. Therefore, the clinic is often overcrowded with people who require medical attention, however there is not enough staff or medical resources to attend to everyone. Although, the staff at the Nsaba Clinic have implemented great systems to help address periods when there is an overflow of patients, at times it is very difficult to provide adequate care to everyone.
Access to updated medical technology is very difficult to obtain especially for rural clinics. The staff at Nsaba Clinic have basic medical tools that they use but really could use some better equipment and more supplies. There is also the problem of lack of consistent electricity therefore many items do not work when needed. The clinic is in constance need of funds to enable them to update their equipment and train staff how to use it.
Medical supplies are delivered to rural clinics by various government agencies and NGO's like UNICEF. When supplies do arrive the staff are overjoyed as it means they have the much needed supplies to provide better health care. The challenge is that supplies are not received on a regular schedule. Therefore, better inventory management systems would be very beneficial in the hope that the clinics could inform these agencies well in advance before they run out of supplies. This is a massive project because most rural clinics do not have a computer or access to internet, so the only way to inform someone regarding inventory and supplies is by telephone. It usually takes time before someone reads the inventory request form and then hopefully provides the necessary supplies.
The services that are provided at the Nsaba Health Clinic include: basic consultations, family planning, malaria treatment, pre-natal and post-natal care, laboratory services, a burn centre, public health out-reach seminars, physiotherapy, basic gynaecology services, a pharmacy, HIV/AIDS testing and counselling if required, educational materials and an emergency room. In addition to treating patients who require medical assistance, the staff at Nsaba Clinic are trying to teach the community members in their area about ways to prevent diseases and to encourage people to visit the hospital if they have questions or concerns about their health.
The Nsaba Health Clinic has been very success at providing outreach programs for people in communities who are unable to go to a hospital and in providing on-going community outreach programs to promote the services they provide, as well as the importance of coming in for early diagnosis. The clinic manages to provide health care with limited resources and funding.
Does this organization have any religious affiliations?
This organization does not have any religious affiliations but the predominant religion in Ghana is Christianity. Therefore, some co-workers and patients may say certain prayers throughout the day and may ask for all the staff to pray together at the end of each shift. Although you do not have to participate in any religious ceremonies or prayers we ask that you please be respectful when these services or prayers take place.
Although most of the people that a volunteer would work with would be of the Christian faith this organization is open and willing to work with anyone no mater what religious orientation or of no religious faith. As long as the person is passionate about wanting to help those who are ill and willing to work with the team to provide this service he/she is most welcome.
The Nsaba Health Care Centre was built and opened in 1985. It was a project sanctioned by the government to address accessibility to health care in rural areas of Ghana.
Currently the clinic has received funding and has built a new laboratory so that they are able to provide even more services to patients. Although work is still required at the laboratory, the clinic and staff are grateful for this additional upgrade to their laboratory.
The services offered at the Nsaba Clinic attend to the needs of Nsaba and the surrounding communities, accounting for over 125,000 people. There are over fifty rural villages in the area that use this clinic when they require medical care or information. The clinic provides services to anyone who requires it.
The rural clinic is very important to these people as it provides them with quality health care that they would otherwise not be able to receive due to financial and transportation issues. Without this clinic in Nsaba, if a villager was sick, they would need to walk 100 km to the next nearest clinic to seek treatment.
Many of the people who attend the clinic in Nsaba already walk long distances to seek medical attention. As a result, less people have the ability to receive medical attention as required because of the distance. To address this the staff at the clinic have decided to mobile provide outreach services to some of the communities in their area to help provide more accessible health care.
The clinic has services for everyone from newborns to the elderly. They are trying to diversify the types of treatments that they provide to include all of the following: malaria, Tuberculosis, Guinea Worm, HIV/AIDS, Poliomyelitis, EPI target disease (those that can be prevented by vaccinations) and to catch diseases such as cholera and meningitis at the early stages as these diseases can easily cause a massive break-out in the community.
The Nsaba clinic is funded by the Ghanaian government with some NGO support and occasionally private donors, mostly from the surrounding communities. They also rely heavily on volunteers both locally and internationally to provide support to their patients and staff.
The Nsaba Clinic has very few resources and therefore donating your time to helping their team to increase outreach initiatives and improve medical conditions would be greatly appreciated.
If you would like to donate an item to the clinic the following list outlines what they have requested. However, you are not required or expected to bring a donation.
Nsaba is very low on medical supplies and do not have a big enough yearly budget to ensure these items are always in-stock. These include medical supplies such as medical gloves, syringes, needles, stethoscopes, tensor bandages, sterile adhesive bandages, butterfly bandages, adhesive tape, rolls of absorbent cotton balls, cotton tipped swabs, thermometers, anti-itch lotion or cream (can be bought in Ghana), eye drops, compresses, splints, antiseptic ointments to cleanse and dress wounds, cleansers, crutches, a sling, hand sanitizer, medications like advil or tylenol (can be bought in Ghana), scales, used computer, new sheets, pillows, new scrubs for nurses and administration supplies, (paper, pens, calculators, note books and tape).
In addition, the clinic is trying to opened a laboratory. The clinic would really appreciate any of the following: syringes, plain test tubes, EDTA tubes, anti-coagulating tubes, reagents, buffers, a computer, a sink, petri dishes, universal bottles and a fridge.