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VILLAGE CLINIC TACKLES HEAVY DEMAND WITH SPARSE RESOURCES
Local health clinic faces great demand, with sparse resources

Date published: 8/28/2007

BY FRANK DELANO

VIDEO: Scenes from Ghana: a multimedia presentation

PHOTOS: View dozens of BONUS IMAGES from Ghana

PRINCE'S TOWN, Ghana--A midwife and two community health workers staff Prince's Town's health clinic. It is the only medical service available to the 7,000 people who live in the town and villages nearby.

Each day, the sick and the expectant walk to the clinic, sometimes from miles away. They wait on wooden benches on a porch to receive care. Their relatives wait on bamboo benches under the trees outside.

The eight-bed clinic also dispenses family-planning advice and condoms. It stocks medicines in an electric refrigerator that runs on propane when the power fails, which is often.

On one morning in July, the clinic saw five patients. Four had malaria, for which the health workers dispensed artesunate-amodiaquine (AA). Another patient had a urinary-tract infection and received antibiotics.

AA usually cures the fever and chills of malaria in three days, said Nurse Emma Kwame (KWA-me). A regimen of AA costs patients about 50 U.S. cents, she said.

Patients with critical illnesses or injuries must find their own transportation to reach the nearest hospital at Dix Cove, 38 miles away.

Kwame said the clinic, which is operated by Ghana's Ministry of Health, has many needs. Among them:

An autoclave, or other sterilizer, for the clinic's instruments.

Delivery sets for obstetrical patients.

Baby and bathroom scales.

A digital thermometer.

A device to measure blood-pressure.

A safe for money.

A computer to keep patient records.

An ambulance.

A lawn mower

Paint for the building.

Frank Delano: 804/333-3834
Email: fpdelano@gmail.com