Health education in Africa is not easy to get, but a Ghanaian charity is trying to improve the situation in remote areas of the country.
The charity – Medicine on the Move – is providing basic health education and literacy to rural communities in the Volta region in Ghana.
ILLITERACY A PROBLEM:
Many of the heath problems in this region are due to lack of education, such as not knowing the importance of washing hands or safe drinking water.
Health workers teach basic literacy, as well as health education. Villagers are now able to understand important information, such as details on when and how to take tablets.
TRANSPORT ISSUES IMPROVING
Ghana, located in west Africa, has a nationwide health service that aims to serve all its citizens. But with poor roads and many different ethnic groups speaking a variety of languages, getting access to health care is not exactly straightforward.
So the charity is using aircraft and education to get better health to the most isolated communities. It is a particular problem for the most marginalised communities.
EDUCATION IMPROVING LIVES
We travelled with one of the health workers when she went to the Volta region. Cindy Yesboah visited a village of Fulani people. The families in this village were forced off their land when the river was dammed creating the huge lake Volta.
Cindy works for Medicine on the Move. She starts with basic information when speaking to these people. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, only about half the children go to school.
This basic education can have a big impact – but only if it is understood. English is the national language of Ghana and is used in the health service and taught in all schools, but the Fulani girls have never been to school. And without English they cannot communicate with trained medics.
The women also need to know how to use a calendar, to understand the right dates for antenatal checks during pregnancy and when to take their medication and how many times to take it per day.
Teaching basic numeracy as well as language skills is allowing these people to benefit from the kind of health care that many people take for granted.