A visit to the Clinic located at the Palace in Feyaise Akoyem, Ghana has further ignited the passion in me to fight to help others less fortunate. Their circumstances are not the results of choices they made but a failure of society to provide the basic needs required for a healthy productive community. I vow to not turn away but to take a leadership role to help the people of Feyaise minimize the unnecessary deaths of the children of the community. This visit has greatly influenced my decision to build a clinic in honor of my mom, Cordella Sutherland, who had a passion for kids and the betterment of their lives.
Here is my story of the visit. I do hope you are moved by the unimaginable conditions the people of Feyaise have to endure, and can join with me on this project: to help save a precious life by building a decent and necessary clinic for the community of Feyaise.
Creating a Safe Haven for our Babies!
Many of the local people have become accustomed to “making do” with what they have Case in point; Dr. Yaw Adutwum made arrangements to take me on a tour of a Clinic located at the Palace in Feyaise Akoyem, Ghana.
The Clinic at the Palace, funded by the Ghanaian Government, is currently located in what used to be the “Security House”. The Chief of the village very generously offered the nurses the Palace Security Office as a temporary location for the Clinic until plans for a new facility can be provided. I walked into the facility and was appalled by the sheer lack of everything. It made my eyes swell up and touched me deeply.
The Clinic is primarily used by the women and children in the community as a Pediatrics Child Welfare Clinic. The Ghanaian Government funds the nurses and basic medical supplies.
My first impression of the nurses running the Clinic was how resourceful they were, making the most out of their limited resources. These nurses were not concentrating on what they did not have, but focused on the task at hand.
They were passionate about helping the patients, using scales used to weigh meat that were hanging from the ceilings. The babies were weighed using diaper cloth, literally hanging from the ceiling. The nurses would take the infants, remove their clothes and hoist them into the scale made of diapers. The babies looked around, screaming at the top of their lungs, arms flailing in the air, and peeing and pooping, on occasion, while being weighed. The medical supplies are stored in a tiny cabinet, which can only fulfill 2 days requirement. There is an immense need for larger cabinets and more medicinal supplies.
Nurses Making House Calls
The five nurses that serve at the Clinic at the Palace in Feyaise Akoyem also make the time to conduct home visits in the community. Many people are fearful of the clinic because of the deplorable conditions and lack of resources. The local belief is that a visit to the Clinic would bring upon death – Why? In addition to the lack of an adequate facility, add superstition and Old Wives Tales. Many believe that they are going to be beheaded/ killed if they visit a clinic that is on the chief’s property, where only Chiefs should go. A lot of work needs to be done to eradicate those beliefs and bring an awareness that each life matters and is just as important, despite your economic status.
Due to the limited supplies, at the Clinic at the Palace in Feyaise, Akoyem, the nurses cannot ensure proper family planning or proper pediatric care in the homes that are visited.
Here are a few FACTS:
This translates into the unnecessary loss of approximately 3 million young lives a year.
Our Purpose at Bridge-To-Africa Connection, The Cordella Sutherland Clinic is to provide a facility to give adequate healthcare for the people in the community where lives can be saved and unnecessary deaths prevented.
“The babies of the community need to be weighed in proper scales. They need sterile equipment and medical supplies. There is a lot of work to be done. I have taken on the cause to create a better system, a better way for the women and their families to get proper healthcare, one child at a time. There is a difference between wants and needs, the people of Feyaise are in need, in great need.
What Can Be Done:
After consulting with my Board of Directors at The Bridge-To-Africa Connection, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, A decision was made that with the assistance of Dr. Yaw Adutwum, to approach the Chief and the Elders in the community with the idea of creating a more stable and functional Clinic on the land that was afforded to us.
As a result of our actions, I can proudly say The Cordella Sutherland Clinic, named for Dawn Sutherland’s Mother is no longer a dream but a reality. The groundbreaking ceremony was held last September 2014, and The Cordella Sutherland Clinic is expected to be completed by September 2015. The late Mrs. Cordella Sutherland truly loved children and always had a passion to provide the very best possible care, not only for her children but other children that she came in contact with.
The Bridge-To-Africa Connection – The Cordella Sutherland Clinic has compiled a “Wish List” of items that are needed:
If you can find it in your heart and budget, please make a pledge to donate items on the list or make a financial contribution to help with the purchase of those much needed supplies in support of The Cordella Sutherland Clinic.
Your efforts can make a world of difference in a child’s life.
You may contribute as follows:
Thank you so much for your continued support in making this dream a reality through your generous contributions.
Executive Director, Founder, The Bridge-To-Africa Connection, Inc.
The Cordella Sutherland Clinic