In harmony, a sound mind and a healthy body breed success but this is dependent on the accessibility of the service, especially first aid, and basic healthcare knowledge. “The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.” - P.T. Barnum
First Aid refers to medical attention that is usually administered immediately after the injury occurs and at the location where it occurred. It often consists of a one-time, short-term treatment and requires little technology or training to administer according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
THE LACK OF PREVENTATIVE HEALTH EDUCATION
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the degree of healthcare education is practically on the low, resulting in loss of lives since there is no immediate access to healthcare when the unfortunate happens.
Mr Nyantakyi and wife Jennifer are the founders of Elijeko Foundation, a US-Ghana based not-for-profit charitable organization with the mission of promoting preventative health education and disaster management training programs.
The activities of the organization are tailored to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. The foundation has volunteer Medical Doctors, Physician Assistants, and Nurses who offer education and training on various healthcare issues that affect most people in communities around Ghana.
They also go to schools, churches, and other communities to provide basic preventive and detection techniques for illnesses like cervical cancer and prostate cancer, breast cancer examination, infection prevention education, CPR and first aid administration training, upper respiratory infection, and education about other communicable diseases among others.
ELIJEKO FOUNDATION – THE IMPACT
According to the information gathered by their staff, Elijeko Foundation has had a profound impact, reach and influence on the communities they have served so far. The Executive Director, Mrs Priscilla Pokuaah stated that Elijeko Foundation has reached over 30,000 people through its health promotion and education.
Several high lights include hosting programs at the Methodist Girls High School in the Eastern Region and Wesley Girls High School in Kumasi, where they provided preventive health education and discussed the need for self-examinations. The services offered are vital for the communities and the families of the students and staffs are the beneficiaries of the Elijeko Foundation’s activities.
Furthermore, the foundations also have a partnership with the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD), and other religious groups such as the Methodist Church in Abuakwa, Oracle City Ministry, Koforidua, and Assemblies of God in Ejisu.
“We look forward to expanding our health promotion, education, and prevention services to Sub-Saharan African countries a, and the world at large”, said Mrs Pokuaah.
2021 PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES
The foundation is implementing a Kiosk Clinic Initiative in partnership with a US-Based preventive health organization. The Kiosk Clinic project is an initiative that the foundation is starting in 2021 by converting shipping containers to mobile clinics that will provide routine medical, dental, and vision care. The services rendered by the clinic will be free and open to the public. The clinics will be situated at different locations in Ghana
The foundation also hopes to commence a wide range of training programs targeted at educational institutions in Ghana and other sub-Saharan African countries. The programs will focus on emergency medical care, firefighting, vehicle extrication, and water rescue training.
Dr Frederick Amakye is a board member and a Medical Officer at Asamankese Government Hospital said the foundation works with a US-based emergency management training charity and has conducted training workshops for NADMO officers in Afigya Kwabre and Sekyere Afram Plains District Assemblies as well as Bosomtwe Constituency.
Ms Maame Esi Arhin, an Implementation Consultant for the foundation said she is meeting with stakeholders in both Ghana Health Services and the Education Ministry to deliberate on how to incorporate cardiopulmonary resuscitation/basic life support training into the curriculum of schools in Ghana. “The idea is to train our children in this important life-saving skill so they can share the information with their families. We will hit the ground running in 2021 and have started gathering the mannequins and other teaching materials needed for this program”, she added.
THE LOVE FOR HEALTHCARE
Born in Kumasi with his secondary education at the KNUST Senior High School, Mr. Andrews Kwabena Nyantakyi is co-founder of Elijeko Foundation along with his wife, Jenifer. He is a preventive health educator with an academic background in Computer Network Security from the University of Maryland.
Currently, he is an Active Duty service member in the United States Navy, which he joined in 2012, and has served in various capacities in the most decorated rate in the United States Navy. He is enrolled in a graduate program at Florida International University, pursuing a Master in Health Informatics and Analytics, and is starting a nursing degree from George Washington University in January 2021. He hopes to build on the skills gained from military medical training and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
His vision for Elijeko Foundation is to offer complete holistic medical services support to the peoples of Ghana and the greater African continent.
According to Mr Nyantakyi, “the foundation hopes to create awareness that will promote disease-free communities, and we focus our programs to educate people on the current health challenges.” Furthermore, he states, “Our approach is simple: We partner with various organizations and communities to render health-related service by way of education or free health screening. We go to schools; we use social medial to educate users on current health concerns and how to prevent them. We have a weekly health talk show that reaches out to a large audience. We have received various positive feedbacks with our airwaves, social media, and face-to-face approach to health education”.
Also, Mr Nyantakyi has a profound love for health and wellness, as a Hospital Corpsman, he has had the opportunity to serve with some of the best astute health care professionals in providing excellent medical care to military personnel and their families; a job he takes much delight in.
The Volunteer’s role
Volunteers play a major role in the operations of the foundation. The organization has a group of highly trained volunteer medical professionals who take part in critical functions in the foundation’s ability to provide free medical services.
Mrs Priscilla A. Pokuaah, also known as “Dr Amma Peterking”, is a medical practitioner with the Ghana Health Service and licensed with the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana. The obtained her Physician Assistantship degree from Presbyterian University College. She believes medicine should be used to save lives and in doing so, must be in the highest ethical standard.
Associated with Elijeko Foundation, she spearheads all medical projects the Foundation undertakes, adding, “My work at the foundation is so vital to me because I love educating people about their health and environment issues. People are not informed about their health, and educating them makes me love my work as I keep saving lives while promoting and preventing health-related issues”.
Mrs Helen Adjei-Prempeh, a Pediatric Nurse at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital is the volunteer coordinator for Elijeko Foundation and expressed the organization’s willingness to welcome volunteers from all regions of Ghana to join their work.
Mrs Angelica Romasko, an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner who works at a Naval Hospital in the United States expressed delight in the opportunity to serve as part of the volunteer medical team for the foundation. She indicated it has been a long desire of hers to participate in an international medical mission and was overjoyed that this organization is providing her the opportunity to serve the medical needs of the less privileged.
The foundation is accepting invitations from organizations, groups, and communities interested in hosting a health education session or free medical screenings. You can contact them through [email protected] or visit their website www.ngo.elijeko.com
By: Joseph Kwaku Kpormegbey
Email: [email protected]