Teen Girls Club Helps Ama Know Her Health Status

Ama, a farmer of about 45 years old and mother of one at Beposo in the Ashanti Region of Ghana went about her daily farming activities without an inkling of her poor state of health until she participated in  a health screening exercise organized by Self-Help International in conjunction with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) at her community in December last year.

Ama, who has never undertaken a medical examination in her adult life, was shocked when the screening exercise uncovered her blood pressure was high. She had been suffering from a high blood pressure in silence without the accompanying physical symptoms.

“I never knew I had high blood pressure because in the community in which I live, we never earn enough money to undertake medical examinations to know our state of health”.

“It is the presence of SHI in my community that has brought me the benefit of knowing my state of health and that my blood pressure is high,” she said.

Following the outcome of the screening exercise, Ama was advised by the team to seek medical care to manage her blood pressure.

“I was asked to go and see a doctor. I had a National Health Insurance Card but no money to attend a hospital at the time. Eventually, it was the Health Insurance Card that I used to go to see a doctor for a medical examination,” Ama explained.

“After the doctor examined me, he confirmed that my blood pressure is high and I told him it is the reason why I came to the hospital. Then he asked me how I knew my blood pressure was high and I told him it was uncovered during a health screening exercise in my community.”

“The doctor then provided me with medicine which he said I will be taking on a daily basis and I am to visit the hospital every month for my supply of the medicine. He said the medicine is to be taken continuously so I should always visit the hospital two days before the drugs are spent to avoid any breaks. Right now, I am on medication.”

“I am most grateful to Self-Help International because without their intervention, I would not have known that my blood pressure is high,” Ama said.

The health screening exercise which was organized by the Teen Girls Program is targeted at members of the Teen Girls club but was extended to include all members of the communities in which they operate since the wellbeing of the girls is ultimately tied to and determined by the wellbeing of their parents.

Grace Marfo, Team Lead of the Teen Girls Club, said the decision to target entire communities during screening exercises in communities that they work in was due to a number of the club members experiencing a sudden loss of their parents, which the management of the club perceives to be due to a lack of access to adequate medical care.

Hence, taking into consideration the impact that the  loss of a parent has on the welfare of the teen girls, the club found it necessary to include the entire community in their health screening exercise to reduce the incidence of preventable parental deaths in these communities.

Beposo was one of several communities that benefited from the health screening exercise. Other communities were Nkontomire, Bedabour, Kukuboso, and Timeabu.

In all, a total of 481 community members were examined for various diseases during the health screening exercise during which the PPAG  also provided family planning services to 87 community members.