Pregnant women in Assin Anhweansu and surrounding villages in the Assin North District of the Central Region avoid seeking medical care at the only health post in the area because they are sometimes treated in the open.
The women say they feel embarrassed when their bodies are exposed to passers-by during medical examinations at the one-room Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) centre in the area.
Even though a CHPS centre should have at least a room each for antenatal care, family planning, weighing and an Out-Patients Department (OPD), the facility located at Assin Anhweansu, a cocoa farming community, 21-kilometres north-east of Assin Foso, has just a single room.
The facility, which has been in use since 2013 and serves over 4,500 residents in over five catchment areas, has only a shed at the front where patients sit, one weak bed, and a medium-sized freezer for storing vaccines, leaving only a small space for a table.
When Citi News visited the centre, one of the nurses expressed frustration over the conditions at the facility and its effect on medical care, saying, “We see the pregnant women here but because we are close to the road and we are inside the community, there is no privacy here – especially if we have to measure the stomach to know the age of the pregnancy, those passing by can see everything.”
He added, “If you do an HIV test for somebody and the person is positive, before you are aware, the people might have the information, which is not good. If you are counselling a client, somebody’s kitchen is here and if the person is inside there, you can imagine.”
A pregnant woman at the facility told Citi News: “When we go to Assin Foso, the nurses there are able to check our stomach, but here the nurses cannot do that because they do not want to expose our bellies to the public”.
Another woman noted that, “This place is not convenient for us: the last time when we came for weighing, we got drenched because there were no chairs to sit on when it was raining, and because it is too open, we feel shy to come here for family planning services”.
Another unfortunate situation is how parents with children suffering from ‘kwashiorkor’ (malnourished) feel embarrassed taking those children to the nurses to be examined in the open.
However, the one-room facility faces imminent shutdown as the owner has threatened to stop the health officers from rendering services in the room because the community has failed to pay the monthly rent of GHC 60 for the past five years.
A CHPS compound started many years back has been abandoned in the bush, and is now in the middle of a cassava farm.
When Citi News contacted the Member of Parliament of Assin North, Abena Durowaa Mensah over the appalling conditions at Assin Anhweansu, she indicated that she is working on getting funds to complete the abandoned uncompleted CHPS Compound.
By: Joseph Ackon-Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana