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Periclean Scholars Partnership Brings Community Clinic to 10,000 Ghanaians

The clinic on opening day, with Elon-Kpoeta friendship banner

January 10, 2009 marked the grand opening of the Kpoeta Community Clinic, a joint effort between the people of Kpoeta, Ghana and Elon’s 2010 Class of Periclean Scholars. The project was launched in April 2007 when visiting Fulbright Scholar Dr. Francis Amedahe proposed that the 2010 Periclean Scholars partner with the people of his home town of Kpoeta to construct a community clinic. Amedahe explained that the 10,000 people of Kpoeta lacked year round access to health services because the seven-mile long dirt road between Kpoeta and the nearest health facility was impassible during the rainy seasons which constitute half of each year. His community had attempted to build a clinic using their own resources, but at their rate of construction, they would require many years to complete it, which would translate into many lives lost during the rainy seasons.

The 32 member 2010 Periclean class jumped on the opportunity to improve access to health care for rural Ghanaians. Their support sped up the construction of a 10-room community clinic considerably and enabled the people of Kpoeta to have a nurse posted in their village by the Government of Ghana by late 2007.

The 2010 Pericleans raised more than more than $18,500 to contribute to the $6,000 raised locally for the clinic. This, with the uncompensated labor of the people of Kpoeta enabled the clinic to become operational and to secure a promise from the Government of Ghana to post a midwife to the clinic and to provide basic medical supplies.

Since January 2008, ten 2010 Periclean Scholars and their faculty mentor, Dr. Heidi Frontani have been warmly welcomed in Kpoeta. In recognition of their efforts the students have received individualized strips of kente cloth and Dr. Frontani was installed as Development Queen Mother of Kpoeta. Four 2010 Pericleans and their faculty mentor were present for the clinic’s grand opening. Another seven to eight 2010 Pericleans intend to visit Kpeota when they study abroad in Ghana over the next year.

The next phase of the Kpoeta Community Clinic project will focus on KEEPING the medical professionals in the remote peasant farming community. More than half of all medical personnel trained in Ghana leave Ghana for higher pay and nicer accommodations in the U.K., U.S.A., and elsewhere. One of the main ways the Government of Ghana has suggested to keep its medical personnel is for communities hosting them to offer more incentives, especially through the provision of basic, but quality housing.

Blueprints for a duplex to house the nurse and midwife have been drafted and fundraising for accommodations for the medical personnel will begin this semester. The 2010 Pericleans and the people of Kpoeta hope to complete one unit of the duplex by next year. Anyone interested in giving to the Kpoeta Community Clinic Campaign, a step forward for Ghana in meeting its United Nations Millennium Development Goals of improving maternal health and healthcare for children, should go to the donate tab of the 2010 Periclean website (http://org.elon.edu/pericleanscholars2010) for details on how to support the initiative.

A close up of the Kpoeta Community Clinic signpost which acknowledges the contributions of the 2010 class of Periclean Scholars at Elon University
A processional from the Chief's home to the Kpoeta Community Clinic with hundreds of people from Kpoeta and five Periclean visitors from Elon University
Heidi Frontani,
2/4/2009 2:15 PM