www.padfm.com.gh – Savannah region, Ghana
The Medical Mission Sisters (MMS), an international congregation of the Catholic Church; dedicated to providing the poor and marginalized better access to health care, have launched an Integrated Health Programme amidst free health screening at the Holy Family Parish at Kulmasa in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district of Savannah region on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
The programme is aimed at opening a small hospital (Family hospital) which will focus on maternal and child health care, preventive and participative health activities, girl-child education, youth and women empowerment.
In a speech, the superior of the Medical Mission Society in Ghana, Rev Sr. Catherine Osei gave a brief history of the congregation. She stated that the Medical Mission Sisters were founded in September, 1925, by a young Austrian doctor named Anna Dengel. Working in what was then North India; present day Pakistan in the early 1920s. Anna witness first-hand the unnecessary sicknesses and deaths of countless Muslim women and children whose customs and religious traditions prohibited them from receiving medical health administered by male physicians.
The conditions in Pakistan moved Dr. Dengel to organize a group of religious sisters who were professionally trained as physicians to reach out to the poor and innocent women and children who were cut-off from adequate medical care due to cultural and religious traditions.
Upon an invitation of the the then Bishop of Kumasi, Most Rev. Hubert Joseph Paulissen, the Medical Mission Sisters first arrived in Brekum in 1948 to set-up a small dispensary, now Holy Family Hospital.
In 1954, they moved to Techiman to start the Holy Family Hospital, from a small dispensary to now a Regional Hospital with three hundred and thirty (330) bed capacity. The Sisters also went to Kokufo in the Ashanti region where they established a leprosarium to cater for the lepers. A clinic was later set-up at Abease, a village in the Pru district of the Bono East region.
The Superior thanked the Bishop, Most Rev. Peter Paul Angkyier for his dynamic leadership.
She stated without any equivocation that it was due to the invitation and dynamic leadership of the Bishop; falling within the priorities of Kulmasa Growth Development Strategy (KGDS), emphasizing the need to improving the well-being of the people of Kulmasa and ensuring access to quality health that necessitated the efforts of the Medical Mission Sisters to extend their mission to Kulmasa.
She assured the people that the launching of the Public Health Project and its integrated health care which include; youth and women empowerment, and a greenhouse project is a step to a forthcoming project of health and medical service in Kulmasa that will enhance accessibility to quality health care.
The project she stated, will also provide for neighboring villages and communities an avenue to generate local income, as well as creation of further job opportunities for the youth and women of Kulmasa.
In a keynote address, the Damongo Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuome Angkyier earnestly expressed his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Medical mission Sisters for accepting his invitation to work in Kulmasa by extension the diocese of Damongo.
The Bishop stated that the Holy Family Parish was established in 2014, and has thirteen (13) outstations, fifty-five (55) communities, with a population of about thirty thousand (30,000) inhabitants. Over seventy percent (70%) of the population is youth. Majority of the population(over 90%) have fallen prey to poverty due to high illiteracy, making it difficult to positive impact on their human and spiritual development.
Most Rev. Angkyier emphasized that agriculture has been the major economic occupation in the dioceses of Damongo. However, he bemoaned the decreasing crop yield, poor farming practices, seasonal farming and poor food crop prizing as a contributing factor to the fast decline of rural economy and poor standard of living. He lamented that the people in the rural communities are usually left with no option than to move to the urban areas in search of better livelihood. High charcoal burning and indiscriminate logging according Bishop Angkyier has become the main activities for survival by those who are unable to travel out. The situation has exacerbated by the rapid increase of illegal mining “Galamsey” by frustrated youth which practically destroy tracks of forest, agricultural land and river bodies.
To assist the people of Kulmasa take advantage of the great potentials in agriculture, the Bishop disclosed that, the Medical Mission Sisters will establish an eco-demonstration farm, which will serve as Employment Avenue for some youth. He announced that farmers will be trained on the best farming practices. There will also be an agro business that will supply farm imputes and other services at subsidized prices, alongside a micro-credit project to help alleviate poverty in the area.
The Bishop therefore appealed to the chief and elders of kulmasa by extension the Bole Traditional Council to offer to the Church more lands for development. He also urged the people to take charge of the integrated programme through their commitment and contribution.
On his part, the Savannah regional health director, Dr. Chrysantus Kubio promised an unflinching support to the programme especially the family clinic and encouraged it operates under the guided core values of the Ghana Health Service.
A Senior Coordinator in-charge f Monitoring, Evaluation and Compliance at the National Catholic Health Service Secretariat, Mr. Ivan Tetteh Essegbey appealed to staff who will be working in the facility to develop a maintenance culture by taking good care of the medical equipment, instruments and all other property that will be placed in their care and also nurture and foster good team spirit.
On buildings and installations, Mr. Essegbey appealed to the Diocese, the Medical Mission Sisters and Management to be proactive and undertake periodic assessment, using relevant experts on buildings and where necessary, preventive measures should be taken to maintain them. He also appealed to the Chiefs, opinion leaders and natives of Kulmasa and its surrounding communities living elsewhere especially: Accra, Kumasi, Tema and even abroad to emulate the example of the donors, by supporting to raise funds for specific projects such as Wards, Laboratory, Theatre, and X-ray which are critically needed to provide best care to meet the expectations of patients. Mr. Essegbey also appealed to the youth of Kulmasa to periodically undertake “communal labour” to clean and tidy up the premises. These he said will complement the efforts of the Diocese, Sisters and donors.
To serve the Kulmasa township and nearby communities and beyond well, Mr. Essegbey challenged the staff to be innovative with their approach to work, taking into account the socio-cultural context of the catchment area. He advise them to undertake outreach visits to communities and be prepared to work long hours on some days which probably may fall on market days where beneficiaries can be reached and attended to.
In a speech read on his behalf, the chief of Kulmasa; Kulmasawura Ababio Jamani revealed that the bond of friedship between the Catholic Church and the Kulmasa community dates back to the time of late Cardinal Peter Porekuu Dery. He acknowledged the late cardinal as the brain behind the construction of the present Kulmasa dam which contains sacred crocodiles. This he said has attracted a lot of tourist to the community.
The chief reiterated that the Church has never shun away from the development needs of the Kulmasa Community. He congratulated the Church for establishing a primary and Junior High School for the community and also providing for them anti snake venoms. The chief also thanked the Church for introducing a women empowerment project through the Medical Mission Sister and now an Integrated Health Progremme.
The Superior together with the Savannah regional health director joined the Bishop to plant a tree at the clinic site to officially launch the Integrated Health Programme.
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