- Raise awareness of common health-related problems that afflict rural, poor communities in Ghana and give the communities the means to find solutions to the problems.
- Lack of knowledge about basic diseases and prevention
- Lack of access to medical help
- Lack of ability to pay for health care.
Areas requiring awareness raising include
- Organizing immunization against preventable diseases
- Classes on preventative health practices such as sleeping under mosquito nets and preventing bites, washing hands with soap, keeping children and babies as clean as possible.
- Gynecological health, common diseases, and healthy practices
- Sexually transmitted diseases and prevention
- Common digestive ailments and solutions
- Common urinary ailments and solutions
- Common muscular ailments and solutions
- Common skeletal ailments and solutions
- Common viruses and solutions
- Common infections and solutions
“The Tree Bank”
Not all members of the community are involved in craft production but they still require access to funds for health care. To cater to everyone in the community, we are designing a programme that may be able to accommodate everyone where we operate.
The concept is that individuals have the option to access financing for basic medical assistance up to a capped amount (yet to be finalized). If the amount exceeds this we will consult with all involved to find a solution.
The underlying philosophy is to support traditional community networks and encourage community involvement by empowering the community in the aid of its members across the spectrum of problems they encounter in their daily lives.
The person in need will be able to access the funds needed for their health care, but only in exchange for an undertaking to plant a number of trees to the value of the amount of money requested—an undertaking which must be guaranteed by one other person in their family or the community.
This is the basic concept of a “tree bank”: in exchange for money for health needs you plant trees or have someone in your family or community agree to plant them for you.
We aim to raise funds through grants and donations to fund this aspect of our program. The “bank of trees” will be available for community members to access when they need health care assistance.
For example, someone needing to cover costs of up to 20 Cedis may plant and maintain 10 trees. We are justifying the figures and details as we write. Obviously if the person is gravely ill they will not be able to plant themselves but will need the support of their family and community, which is why community participation is necessary to make this successful—and also the reason why it will be successful.
The individual receives the amount needed as well as the number of trees allocated for that amount. We sign a simple contract and monitor both the patient and the trees’ progress.
We will pilot this with five families to test whether it will work in practice. However, even with no financial incentives, to date all trees that we have planted with the youth groups have been well looked after by the community, even without our asking, so we believe there is a high likelihood of success with this program particularly when everyone can see that they may benefit from the assurance of being able to access funds for their own health when needed in future.
We envisage possibly implementing a similar program for other needs such as school fees in future: “Trees for School Fees”
Image by Julien Harneis