Kumpariguga Village in Bawku West, Ghana has been one of the first communities to participate in the Health Rights Project run by the Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC). According to the people of Kumpariguga they have already seen positive impacts to the lives of the people living there.
Now, nearly all women go to the health centre to give birth, which was not the case prior to the project. There has also been a change in the perception of hospitals and seeking professional medical advice. The community now go to health centres, instead of using local medicines and has a better understanding of childhood diseases, which were previously surrounded by myths. In the past, when a child had convulsions and a fever, it was believed only a man could hold the child. If a woman held the child, the child would die.
However, it is now understood fever should be treated by cooling the child down with cool water and taking them to the nearest clinic.
It has been something relatively small in which has really altered perceptions of medical professionals – using vaccinations for measles. Before this, if a child in a house of 20 children contracted measles nearly all would die. Since the vaccinations there have been fewer deaths from measles. It has been this which has made the community accept the advice of medical professionals.
There have also been changes in the number of women getting advice on family planning, and most importantly getting advice with their husband’s knowledge and consent. Both men and women have come to realise the importance of not having frequent pregnancies.
African Initiatives’ Health Programme in Ghana supports communities, particularly women, in registering with the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme. This entitles individuals and families to free medical care after the initial outlay. Although the scheme has been operative in Ghana for some years there was particularly low take up in the poorer northern region. This project has already seen positive results in increased registrations and renewals.