Poor health outcomes are caused by and a cause of poverty in a vicious cycle seen in many developing countries. Poverty causes poor health in that without proper resources, treatable diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and others contribute to disability and mortality. Additionally, poor health further exacerbates the problems of poverty in that illnesses can prevent the sufferer from attending school or working.
The Ghana Health Service, Ghana’s governmental health agency and authority for all public health facilities, identified the main areas of health in which Ghana needs improvement. These include rates of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, polio, and others; non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension; and other health outcomes such as maternal and infant mortality, nutritional quality, and injury and death due to accidents.
Cheerful Hearts Foundation (CHF) has therefore placed great importance on health work in the Kasoa area. In order to help alleviate many of these endemic health problems, CHF works closely with local administrators, community members and stake holders to improve the health of the surrounding area. We are involved in several projects, each of which aims to provide long-lasting impacts and emphasize prevention. These projects include education in schools, assisting at the local health clinic, and several other projects.
Each week, the public health team travels and conducts health talks to the students at district schools. The topics of these talks include symptoms, treatment, and prevention of malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrhea and more. CHF recognizes the power of the youth to lead change in their communities and aims to provide them with the knowledge necessary for action and empower them to work for change. Students are encouraged to not only learn the information, but to put it into practice, as well as to share the information with their families and community members.
Additionally, we work closely with the Kasoa Health Centre which is the only government health clinic in the area with over 100,000 people in its catchment area. Our volunteers work at the clinic, assisting in many departments from vaccinations and routine child health examinations to maternal care.
The public health team is also regularly involved in research projects. CHF believes that in order to best serve the community, we must constantly assess the needs of the community as well as the efficacy of our efforts. While these projects change on a regular basis, below are the research efforts currently underway:
- A research project with the Kasoa Health Centre to identify key long-term needs of the clinic and pinpoint how CHF can most effectively aid their efforts.
- An assessment of the efficacy of our school talks to gauge not only the information being retained by the students but also any behavioral change.