The Dabaa Medical Centre has been a focus project for HOPE4HEALTH since 2006. The ambitious goal has been to build a much needed hospital in the rural area of Dabaa in Ghana, West Africa.
Known as the ‘Gold Coast’ of West Africa, Ghana has proved the ideal location for the project for several reasons. Ghana is a constitutional democracy that currently enjoys relative peace and stability for the region. There is also an economic need in Ghana where the local economy has not been able to sustain the population. Currently the people of Ghana rely heavily on international aid and debt relief. Health services in Ghana are particularly underdeveloped in some crucial areas including child and maternal health. Preventable diseases claim the lives of 1 in 10 children every year and maternal mortality rates are 90 times higher than rates in Australia.
The Dabaa Medical Centre project was initiated by a local Gold Coast charity called The Watson Association. The Watson Association hoped to address the specific gaps in maternal and child health services for the people of Dabaa. Of particular concern was the fact that the population of Dabaa travels a minimum of 20 kilometres to reach any form of medical assistance.
The partnership between HOPE4HEALTH and The Watson Association has seen a very successful fundraising campaign undertaken to ensure the viability of the project. Through a series of events including the ‘Out of Africa’ Jazz Dinner Dance, approximately $60,000 was raised in 2007. The total raised has now increased to over $100,000 after a series of smaller events.
Crucial to the sustainability of the project was establishing an agreement with the Ghanaian Government Ministry of Health so that the Dabaa Medical Centre would be staffed by Government health care workers after construction was complete. This agreement was negotiated by Dr Chris Perry of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, who met with the Ghanaian President John Kufour during a due diligence mission to the country. This work was followed up by former Griffith medicine student, Dr Johnny Chandler, who met with local officials and sealed the deal while completing his final year elective!
Construction of the Dabaa Medical Centre began in April 2010. A local Ghanaian construction company AESL Ltd has been engaged to complete the hospital over a twelve month period.