The Social Investment Fund has increasingly gained attention for its capacity to support poor communities, especially in the context of scaling up efforts to reduce poverty. In line with this support, the SIF has selected the Natinga community for the construction of a Rural Clinic with potable water under the IRDP.

Natinga is a farming community in the Nanumba South District. It is located across the River Oti in an area popularly known as ‘over seas’. The community has one primary school, one functioning borehole but no health facility. The nearest heath facility is located at Pudua which is about 30km away. The other health facility where people from Natinga access health care services is at Damanko in Nkwanta North District of the Volta Region and a distance of 25km. Apparently, access to quality health care in this community is a challenge.

On the other hand, the location of Natinga makes it more difficult to reach with our support. For example, to access Natinga from Wulensi, the District capital, one would have to go to Bimbilla, cross the Oti River at Asafoache, continue to Lahito, Chichagi, Pudua, Woribogu (Zabzugu District) and to Natinga, a distance of 80km. The other route is to go to Damanko, (Nkwanta North District) cross the Moala River, get to Egamboya, Kanjo Kura and finally arrive at Natinga, a distance of 60km on feeder roads. Again, if one wants to avoid crossing a river in order to get to Natinga, then one would have to travel from Wulensi to Yendi, Zabzugu, Woribogu and finally Natinga, a distance of about 320km.

Notwithstanding the above, the SIF in its effort to reduce poverty through the provision of resources to the poor communities on a demand-driven basis, targeted the community and it is about to construct a clinic with potable water for them.

The purpose of the project is to bring health delivery services to the door step of the community members.

The Project also seeks to achieve the following:

  • Provide a safe environment for delivery of pregnant women.
  • Reduce to barest minimum the distance, cost, and risk of transporting sick and pregnant to distant health facilities.
  • Reduce from 8 to 0 fistula cases in the community that are due to protracted labour.

It is expected that these interventions would bring immense relief to the people of the community and thereby improve upon their quality of life.

Bechemboi, a farming community in the Sissala East District, is benefiting from the construction of a Two-bedroom semi-detached Teachers’ Quarter under the Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP) which is being implemented by the Social investment Fund. The construction of the facility had raised the moral of the teachers in the local community school who are saddle with acute accommodation challenges. This was revealed by Mr. Amidu Tuko, the PTA Chairman, during a monitoring visit to the community on October 20, 2016 by the SIF and the District Chief Executive and staff of Sissala West District Assembly.

In a meeting with the community, Ms Cynthia Serwaah, a teacher, expressed the sincere gratitude of the teachers of the community for the construction of the quarters and appealed to the SIF to expand the facility to accommodate more teachers. The District Chief Executive, Hon. Johnson Saborh, disclosed that the District Assembly intends to build 12-unit compound houses to accommodate teachers in the near future. He further revealed that the District Assembly had paid an amount of GHC 689,000.00 as counterpart fund obligation for all the IRDP sub-projects in the district. He asked the community to take the sub-project as their own and make good use of it when completed.

According to the United Nations (2016), ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. The UN indicates that, significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) notes that, maternal mortality has fallen by almost 50 per cent since 1990. In Eastern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Asia, maternal mortality has declined by around two-thirds. But maternal mortality ratio in developing regions is still 14 times higher than in the developed regions. Only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need.

As part of its targets, the SDGs seek to:

  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.
  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.
  • By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
  • By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.

The efforts of the Social Investment Fund (SIF) contribute greatly towards the achievement of these targets.  The construction of a Clinic with Portable Water at Kukpali in the Upper West Region is a classic example in this direction. The project which was initiated by the Mother-to-Mother Support Group in Kukpali is aimed at addressing the poor health care provision in Kukpali and the immediate surrounding communities. The nearest health facility to Kukpali is nine (9) kilometers away. However, with the poor nature of roads and the unreliable transport systems, patients are often unable to seek immediate attention in the event of emergency. Pregnant women and children are the worst affected in this situation and these have led to many health complications that could have been avoided.

The construction of the health facility therefore brings untold relief to the people of Kukpali. Community members would not have to travel long distances to access quality healthcare. With improved health of the people, the time spent on their economic activities improves as well. Again, the cost of health goes down with the proximity of the health facility.  Cumulatively, as the quality of healthcare improves, so does their economic livelihood. In the long run, these add to Ghana’s efforts towards achieving the SDGs. The construction of a Clinic at Kukpalis is therefore a strategic socio-economic intervention with immense benefits to the local people and the nation at large.