- On July 14, 2016
Chassie is a community located in the Wa East district of the Upper West Region with about 1,262 population made up of mainly Wale farmers but mixed with Dagabaas, Sisalas and Lobis. Their main crops they cultivate are millet, maize, yam and cassava. Some of the women brew pito (a local alcoholic beverage) to rake in additional income.
Saeed Abdulai Moomin is the Chairman of the Community Health Management Committee in Chassie. He tells the story of how Chassie was inspired by the enthusiasm of Jeyiri, a nearby community, to mobilize funds from the community to put up a Mobile Community Health-Based Planning Services (CHPS) compound. Moomin represented Chassie at the health sensitisations under the IMPROVE project led by the District Citizen Monitoring Committees (DCMCs) and SEND GHANA for the communities in and around Jeyiri. At the meeting, the participants took a decision to contribute money and put up a security post to provide security for the health personnel stationed at Jeyiri CHPS Compound using available local resources. The security post was completed to an appreciable level, within a week of the sensitisations. This single act moved Moomin to sell the idea to members of his community-Chassie. Moomin organised a meeting and disseminated the information he got from the sensitisations to his community. A decision was arrived at by the Chassie community as a result of the challenges they face in accessing healthcare, to renovate an old building to be used as a Mobile CHPS Compound.
Since October 2015, the members of the community started contributing towards the realization of their dream CHPS Compound. The men were levied GHS2.0 and the women contributed GHS1.0 monthly. A Mother to Mother support group in the community formed by Ghana Heath Service to educate their peers on maternal health issues donated GHS35.00 to the kitty. The levies amounted to the tune of GHS315.00 The elders in the community proudly made a donation to the tune of GHS400.00 making a total of GHS 750.00
An old deserted and uncompleted building originally meant to house health professionals posted to the community was chosen and completed to serve the new purpose of a CHPS Compound. The facility which was officially inaugurated in February 2016 can boast of a weighing scale, thermometer, OPD and consultation room registers, palpation bed for pregnant women and shelves for drugs.
Ali Adams is the Community Health Officer with three years of experience, posted to the Jeyiri CHPS Compound. He is also responsible for addressing the health needs of some of the communities around Jeyiri including Chassie. A mobile CHPS is a health facility through which health professionals provide doorstep healthcare services to communities once a month. Some of the services include weighing, checking temperature, palpating pregnant women among others. According to Adams, previously, he used to go to Chassie to provide selected health services which alternated with every visit. “But this time around, I go there to provide the full complement of health service. In view of this, patronage has increased. They would usually look to herbal solution if they suffer minor ailments but due with the Mobile CHPS Compound even minor headache are brought to the health facility for treatment. I am very happy for what the people of Chassie have done”.
Issah Suglo is a 30-year old farmer. She tells me that she is married with four (4) children. “Our health is important for us to go about our daily work. The distance to the nearest health facility is far. It is stressful to journey that far to attend antenatal. Besides, we didn’t want to call on authorities or influential people to help us. We wanted to do something before calling on them. So we accepted the proposal to mobilise our own funds and put up a CHPS Compound.”
Florence Bayou is a 33-year old farmer and brews pito as well. Three of her children were born at Atebubu in the Brong Ahafo region. The fourth child was delivered at Chassie with the help of a Traditional Birth Attendant. “If you get pregnant you have to go to Jeyiri once a month. It costs GHS4.00 to be able to do that. Sometimes we travel this distance to Jeyiri only to be told that the Midwife has travelled to the District Capital. This means that the pregnant woman would have to go back home and come again another time. This was really stressful and costly for us”, she says.
We work in a challenging district. Initially we never had a Midwife. We mostly refer the pregnant women to Loggu which is about 24 kilometres to Jeyiri. We therefore appealed to District Health management Team (DHMT) and they gave us a Midwife. Jeriyi CHPS Compound can now boast of a Midwife and two (2) health professionals.
Members of Chassie community have now decided to deliver at health centres and not at home. This decision to own a CHPS compound was arrived at during the meeting organised by Moomin, a multiplier effect of the IMPROVE sensitisation organised at Jeyiri.
According to Adams “they had a list of many health needs but CHPS Compound topped the list as priority number one. It also fell within the Community Health Action Plan of Ghana Health Service. They have been able to put up their own Mobile CHPS Compound and I must thank SEND GHANA, the DCMCs and the funding partners for leading the way through the maternal health sensitisation. I believe we wouldn’t have gotten to this stage but for the sensitisations from the project.”
A member of the community-Iddrisu Imoro volunteered his motor bike during the meeting organised by Moomin to be used to convey any serious pregnancy case to the nearest health facility in times of crisis after the sensitisations.
The DCMC under the IMPROVE project, is still working with the community to seek further support from government and other organisations to put up a better health facility.