Ghana, Malaria and Me
I arrived in Accra with an open mind, ready to experience and learn about life in a small village in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Malaria No More UK were kind enough to host Aloe and I on this trip to help bring awareness about the Malaria in Ghana. It enabled us to see firsthand the work that Malaria No More UK and their partners are doing in the fight against this preventable and treatable disease.
So here’s the facts:
- 100% of Ghana’s 24 million people are at risk
- Malaria accounts for over a third hospital admissions
With this in mind we boarded a small plane from Accra to Kumasi, then drove 2 hours to Dromamkuma, a small community 10mins from Ejura in the Ashanti region of Ghana. We met Dela Fumador, our singing guide who took great care of us. As soon as our van pulled into the primary school we were met by children who were excited to greet us. “Akwaaba!” Welcome indeed. I was immediately taught the various greetings in the local Ashanti region language of Twi much to the appeasement of my 10yr old teachers, they loved my accent. “Meda wo ase!” Thank you was an easy one to learn.
Children learn English in school but most of the young ones could not speak so we communicated with song and dance and a whole bunch of screaming. After an impromptu conga line and a verse of ‘Feliz Navidad’, something I was not expecting to hear, Aloe joined us to lead a few songs. He showed them the BeatBox (I’m not sure if their parents would appreciate that) and then lined the kids up for a soul train! This was a funny site as many of the children were too shy to jump in. They were in no way rhythmically challenged! They taught me local rhythms I could never dream up! In exchange I taught them the Clave Salsa rhythm, which they picked up easily. Dela told me that actually that is a Ghanaian rhythm. Der..
A very intelligent 13yr old girl named Esther was kind enough to sing for Aloe and I. She sang a Church song about how you don’t need money, you just need God.
Esther was gracious enough to show us her house and how she uses her mosquito net. She says she sleeps in it every night. Esther has had Malaria before and knows how easily she could get it again so she makes sure her younger siblings do the same. Every night their father puts the nets up. He said he was really grateful for the nets and that thankfully none had suffered Malaria since receiving the nets.
A shipment of more mosquito nets had just been made and the town was getting ready to make the deliveries to make sure everyone in the Ashanti region had access to one. I met Richard who looks after the warehouse where the nets are kept in Ejura in bundles of 100 nets and Father Isaac who leads his church along with wonderful volunteers who provide families with net use and care advice as well as follow up visits.
Father Father Isaac (second from rigt), Richard (far left) with volunteers.
We were taken to the hospital and met Adelaide who manages the clinic. She certainly has her hands full there so the new Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are highly welcomed. It’s basically a stick that pricks your finger and tests your blood. Within 10-15mins a nurse can tell if you have Malaria or not. This is great news for hospitals like Adelaide’s that don’t have full laboratories. This was something I was really excited about as proper diagnosis means proper treatment.
Hospital in Dromankuma
After a couple days in Dromankuma, we headed back toward Accra. I felt excited, concerned and inspired all at the same time. Excited about all the people that are positively affected by the distribution of mosquito nets thanks to thousands of supporters around the world and volunteers in Ghana working together to eradicate Malaria. Concerned about the bigger picture of it all ie how do we get stagnant water to move and mozzies to leave? And what will happen to the children who are at high risk of dying from Malaria? And finally inspired because I know that even one person can make a difference. Whether its by donating your skill or dinero, or spreading the message. The more people care the more chance Esther and her village have in the fight.
We know we are blessed, let’s always honour the less fortunate by remembering them and doing what we can to help.
No matter which nation I’ve been to on this planet, where people have nothing and I mean nothing. It always amazes me how happy, joyful and generous they can be. There is always a stronger sense of community and togetherness. We can learn so much.
Aloe and I having a go at carrying the pot on our heads. Dela is not struggling at all. It’s amazing all the things people can carry up there!
For more info check out:
Ultimate Ghana hook-up. Contact Dela Fumador