Ghana Won’t Run Out Of Angels
By Sr Rowena S. Cardinoza SSPS
It has been five years since I first came to Ghana. I am assigned here in West GonjaHospital in the accounting department. It is the only hospital in the whole district. The West Gonja District is interestingly the largest district in Ghana, over 130 kms away from the district capital Damongo. As an agency hospital, it is assisted partly by the government.
Floods and plague
As a mission institution the main problem is finance. The beneficiaries of the health services are mainly the poor farmers who struggle every day to get their daily bread and most often the weather is not in their favor. For instance in the last years, some areas of the district were flooded and some experienced plague or locust, which destroyed all the crops. As a result, the harvest was very poor leading to higher prices of food due to shortage of food supply. As a result, many of our patients were unable to pay their bills and these are simply bad debts. For this reason the internally generated funds from the hospital are just too meager to cope with the huge expenditure incurred by the hospital and numerous problems that the hospital is grappling with.
It is extremely difficult for the hospital management to provide basic equipment and transportations for patients, drugs and logistics, medical supplies to ensure quality care for the sick and suffering in this particular remote district. Damongo is 700 kms away from Accra, Ghana’s capital. The population is very scattered and there are so called “over sea” areas which are usually cut off by natural barriers (rivers) during the rainy season. The hospital is the only reliable health facility in the area and it is not accessible to all inhabitants because of the natural barriers, poor road network and lack of transportation just to mention a few.
With regards to utility services, it was only in 1998 when we finally had electricity in the hospital. Prior to that, we had a lot of problem with regards to power system, our generators were running 24 hours and at times all were broken down at the same time. Could you imagine the amount of fuel and repairs we had spent?
What keeps me here
These are the difficult things we encounter here everyday. And these are the things that keep me here. Working in this remote area is very interesting and has always been challenging. It is not easy, at times it is draining me but I always feel consoled when I see the hands of God intervening during very difficult times. Sometimes I would think there is no more hope but then all of a sudden, help will come.
God’s delays are not God’s denials
Just recently, the Loretto Sisters Special Needs Funds, based in America, gave the hospital 25 brand new phoenix bicycles distributed to the workers to ease their transportation difficulty. The hospital doctors and nurses also used to have difficulty in going for sick calls because of the poor road network and a broken down vehicle. There is no suitable ambulance. Thanks to Valco, a joint American and Ghanaian company operating in Ghana. They provided us with a brand new four-wheel drive Mitsubishi pick-up in May last year. It is serving as ambulance for the meantime.
With these, I have come to realize that this is not my work for God. This is the work of God. And I believe there will always be laborers to join and help us in this faraway vineyard. Because I know God doesn’t run out of angels to send.