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Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie
Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie
Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie
Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie
Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie
Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie

Children's Health Event at Agbogbloshie

Date Posted: 20/04/2015
This week Volunteer West Africa completed a free children's health event at Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana.

The locals call it Sodom and Gomorra (S&G)! Otherwise known as Agbogbloshie: a sprawling shantytown built over one of the largest electronic and industrial waste dump sites in the world. The majority of the garbage dumped here comes from the international community, and is simply burned on-site, leaving poisonous smog which forms a pillar of smoke visible from several miles away. The river running through the centre is of course filthy and polluted. For the thousands of people who call this place their home, conditions are, suffice-it to say, extremely difficult.

Regular followers of VWA will know Amina; a cheeky 50-ish mama running a children?s daycare at S&G which VWA supports. The parents of the children Amina cares for work in the local markets as head porters-carrying heavy goods on their heads-or as salvagers, picking through S&G?s huge waste piles each day in an attempt to salvage any items that they might be able to sell on. Amina has a small, stifling concrete room, without electricity or running water, with just a couple of young helpers to help watch over the 50 or so children she looks after from Monday to Friday. 

The Volunteer West Africa team arrived at Amina?s place this Saturday to complete a children?s health screening event on behalf of our UK based sister charity Partner West Africa. As part of our ongoing support for Amina and the children of S&G, the event was free and provided rare access to healthcare and medicine for many children and families who would otherwise have none. The shanty houses at S&G are packed closely together, so this Saturday children spilled out of each little dwelling, curious eyes on us, with plenty of giggles and pointing. Our kind neighbourhood hosts swept the space the community had provided for us to work from, set up our tables and chairs, and it was time to get started!

Our team included: VWA?s Lizzy and Comfort as translators; VWA?s Bintu: An Intern from London on registration; VWA volunteers Sophie: A nutritionalist from Blackpool on pharmacy and dental hygiene; Tyler, a medic from South Carolina and myself, a Paediatric Nurse from Chicago. Coordinating the project was Inusah: VWA?s Project Manager. 

Amina had been briefed on the day?s plan and had arranged for the parents to bring their children in. We registered their names, ages and details and then set about listening to and assessing little hearts, lungs and bellies. We obtained vital signs, and weights, treated dirty fungal skin infections, ringworm, ear infections, asthma, potential malaria, diarrhoea, coughs and runny noses. Medical supplies and medicines were provided and every child even got a Children?s toothbrush and toothpaste set to take away. No condition or complaint was left unanswered!

Despite the difficult circumstances in which they live, the children were fantastic: Good energy, fat chubby legs (my favourite), thick hair and bright eyes. Even though they were perhaps physically under-developed for their ages, and all of course filthy from head to toe, they were incredibly patient and well behaved as they waited to be seen in the hot mid-morning sun. As a reward, VWA provided a special cooked lunch of spicy rice and smoked fish, a Ghanaian specialty, for all the children and their families!

The event was a resounding success. VWA will follow up with Amina and make sure these special children receive regular visits and support from our team and, for now at least, 50 families can rest assured that their healthcare needs have been met. The VWA team would like to thank its volunteers for all their hard work; Amina and the S&G community elders for their help and support in organising the event; and Partner West Africa and its supporters for their incredible kindness in funding the event. Thank you all.

Sussie Stevens - VWA Volunteer

Author: Sussie Stevens - VWA Volunteer

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