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The Green Clinic – A Community Health Promotions Centre

Jan. 2017 | The encouraging aspect of this project is that the problem identified at community level was acknowledged by all stakeholders. Moreover, tackling this problem is also part of the objectives of the Ghana Health Services. A national formula has been designed to improve access to primary health care. The input from stakeholders below on how to come up with a solution were significant for the design of this project.

Point of view at Community Level

Solutions for improving healthThe solution to the problem was actually already mentioned by the community members during their first appraisals (PRA’s): “We need a health clinic to overcome our main challenges at the moment”.

However, during the PRA’s concerns were raised on how to run a clinic in a sustainable way by paying quality staff, technology and equipment. The community health survey also explained that the people are aware that if preventive measures are being taken, this leads to improved health. The solutions expressed by the community (See Graph) are very much in line with the elements of Primary Health Care (PHC), and a PHC approach should tackle all these issues.

Point of view at District Level

All the actors at district level confirmed that building a facility is feasible, but running a health facility in an effective and sustainable matter is much more complicated. However, all of them spoke about a formula that has been introduced by the Ghana Health Services to bring primary health care to the doorsteps of the people and consequently increase accessibility to health care, a solution that might perfectly fit the situation. This formula is CHPS-Centers which literally stands for Community based Health Planning and Services. These centers are government-run primary health care centers established to improve accessibility to basic health care in rural areas. The quotes below illustrate the level of consent among stakeholders on a CHPS-Center as a possible solution for Atsiekpoe.

  • Administrator Bator Catholic Hospital: “I would recommend to contact the District Health Director and inquire about a CHPS-zone which is a basic health center under the GHS where minor ailments are being treated and were basic health personnel could decide if somebody needs a referral. This will also prevent people to self-medicate or use traditional medicine which are not standardized.”
  • Crossing the riverDistrict Health Director: “After I have now visited the place and knowing the commitment made by the community on providing land an generating some funds, I would recommend a CHPS-compound. A clinic run and staffed by the government. There is not yet a CHPS-zone in the electoral area, the population reached the required number of people (1000), and the community and its stakeholders is committed to provide land and support to construct the building. The fact is that CHPS-zones are a priority of the government, but there’s no budget for establishing these facilities in each electoral area, and therefore we welcome the idea from the community and its partners to put up a building structure.”
  • Community Health Nurse Volo Primary Health Clinic: “I welcome the idea of a CHPS-zone in Atsiekpoe as this brings health care to the doorsteps of the people. It’s still an effort to find transport and come all the way to Volo or Bator, and a CHPS-zone makes it much easier for people to consult medical services. A CHPS-zone is under the Health Centre, and could liaise with the clinic in Volo in terms of referral.”
Point of view at (Inter)National Level

Provisions of smaller primary healthcare infrastructure that are closer to majority of the people is emphasized in Ghana’s health care policy. The strategies for PHC are still to improve quality, accessibility and coverage of services and to improve and strengthen management capacity to support the primary level of healthcare service provision. Ghana’s policy of prioritizing the provision of standard basic health infrastructure to lower level Community based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) and PHC facilities, whilst providing more sophisticated infrastructure and equipment to bigger and higher level facilities.

Point of view of the initiators

As stated earlier, SSFA and Jolinaiko Eco Tours are the main partners in this development initiative. Even though, they believe in community-driven initiatives tackling problems identified by the community itself, there are a set of principles that should be acknowledged. These principles are outlines below:

  1. The community is the main focus. Community engagement and participation should continue to be part in establishing and managing the clinic in short- and long-term.
  2. The project should obviously improve quality of life of inhabitants, but at the same time, should respect the environment. This is part of SSFA vision, but even further emphasized with the involvement of Jolinaiko Eco Tours. In the state of our world now we need to start recognizing that we are part of the world’s ecology, the interrelationships of living organism and the environments. We need to start living in a way that respects rather than ignores or relationship with the natural world, and we need to bring this education to the community level. Therefore we welcome the idea of an environmental friendly way of building and landscaping as an important aspect, and this explains the ‘green’ in the clinic concept.
  3. We believe in private-public partnership where a private partner collaborates to bring development to the community. A very clear example in this initiative is the role of Jolinaiko Eco Tours who assisted the community in establishing a community-based tourism projects as a source of revenue for community development. In the view of that, some aspects of the ‘Green Clinic Project’ should be run as a small-scale enterprise. For example, the eco-friendly toilet facility that should be part of the clinic could be run by the community.

Two other values that are worth mentioning here:

  1. Group paying attentionSSFA is a learning organization and aims at building expertise at each level. At community level this means skills development in building the clinic, but also in the implementation and service delivery, monitoring and evaluation. Capacity building should be a red line in the project.
  2. Finally, we believe in 1+1=3 for example applying an interlocking brick system which offers a more environmental friendly method of building, but also introduces skills development and new economic activity in the community.
Conclusion

A Community Health Promotions Centre (CHPS-Center) was unanimously recommended by stakeholders as a sustainable solution to improve access to primary health care in Atsiekpoe and the environing region. This recommendation combined with a ‘climate-smart’ approach to building and managing of the facility form the main ingredients for ‘The Green Clinic Concept’.

Please visit our fundraising pages

The foundation of the building has been laid out, so now we need the funds to build walls and a roof! We currently have 2 fundraising pages:

Visit our fundraising page on Causevox to help us raise the funds to build the walls and roof of the clinic.

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