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Tamara Browning: Party's goal to aid hospital in Ghana

Published Saturday, February 23, 2008


A local event held in the past few years celebrating the anniversary of Ghana 's independence will have an added focus this year.

Hosted by the GHANA ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL ILLINOIS (GACI), GHANA@51 will be a fundraiser party to benefit a mission hospital project in the African nation. The party will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Indian Recreational Center , 2940 Peoria Road .

In celebration of Ghana 's independence March 6, 1957, from the United Kingdom , the GACI usually invites friends, relatives and the public to festivities noting the milestone and discussions of problems facing Africa .

In order to do something meaningful for Ghanaians, the GACI will partner with the INTERNATIONAL HEALTH & DEVELOPMENT NETWORK (IHDN) to assist with building a mission hospital in Weta in the Volta region of Ghana . GACI's goal is to raise $10,000 toward the building of a water reservoir for the hospital, which has an outpatient facility as part of its first phase of construction. The outpatient facility is scheduled to open in June.

“We would need to build a water reservoir to hold water for this clinic. Eventually, we will add more facilities as the funds become available. But right now, it's an outpatient clinic,” said Dr. EDEM AGAMAH , president of IHDN, a Christian medical missions organization based in Springfield .

Agamah will give an update on the mission hospital project during Ghana@51.

The outpatient building is 20,000 square feet and nearly three stories. It will include six exam rooms, an emergency ward, treatment center, operating room, lab, X-ray and pharmacy.

“We are currently recruiting physicians from Ghana and nurses from Ghana to staff the facility. Then when we go there, we're going to help and provide them with the resources to continue with their work,” said Agamah, a hematologist/oncologist with the Central Illinois Hematology Oncology Center plus clinical associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“We are going back to Ghana , with a medical team, in June.”

Agamah and a mission team recently returned from a mission trip to Ghana .

“We were building a road. It's like an entrance from the major public road to the hospital,” Agamah said.

“We built about a half-a-kilometer road to get access to the building because where the building sits, it's in a low-lying area, and the area gets flooded during the rainy season.”

Because major access to quality medical care for people in that area is about 18 miles away, some 150 to 200 patients daily are expected to be treated at the hospital.

“That's very difficult for people to travel when they have to take public transportation because they don't have their own cars,” Agamah said.

“We just want people to know that this is a very worthy cause. We are actually impacting lives tremendously by our efforts, and we encourage people to get involved and help us as much as possible.”

The fundraiser party will include a silent auction of artifacts, collectibles, gift items and more, as well as Ghanaian cuisine, music and dancing.

Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information, call 414-5289, 787-6530, 816-4006 or 899-5835.

Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to IHDN/WRP, 3950 Mill Stone Drive , Springfield , IL 62711 .