July 2, 2013

Village Health Center in West Africa

Short Summary

Lack of access to medical services is the most urgent problem facing Dagnigan, a village in the mountains of western Togo. People routinely fall ill and die from curable diseases or have to travel long distances for basic medical care.

This project supports the construction of a Village Health Center. Located in Dagnigan, the Health Center will meet basic health needs for seven villages with an approximate population of 6,000 people.

Why A Village Health Center?

Currently, the closest health center is seven miles from Dagnigan. Although the distance does not seem prohibitive by American standards, the roads are mountainous and in poor condition. They wash away during the rainy season. Cars are rare, and motorcycle taxis offer the only means of transportation. A motorcycle taxi is expensive and dangerous: indeed, drivers often load three people at a time.

These conditions particularly burden pregnant women, small children and the sick. Many people wait and see if their condition will improve rather than seek treatment. Pregnant women forgo pre-natal care and give birth in unsanitary conditions. Young children do not receive vaccinations. The use of black-market drugs--which are frequently stored under the hot sun, mislabeled, or fraudulent--is common.

The proposed Village Health Center will do the following:
  • Provide pregnant women with regular pre-natal care
  • Decrease complications during childbirth
  • Increase the rate of vaccinations for children
  • Reduce illness and death from preventable or easily curable diseases
  • Reduce reliance on traditional healers for modern diseases
  • Prevent poisoning from black-market drugs
  • Provide immediate first-aid for injuries
  • Reduce the cost and danger of travelling to remote health centers
In addition to improving the community's health, the Village Health Center will also promote social development. Currently, professionals are afraid to live in Dagnigan because they could get sick without access to medical care. The Village Health Center will encourage teachers, agricultural agents, and non-governmental organizations to come to Dagnigan. Students will benefit from quality education and farmers from technical support.

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