Every moment is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who need help. The greatest legacy you can live behind is the number of lives that you were able to touch while alive. It is worthless, needless and in fact, wicked to selfishly amass wealth while others suffer.
Some years back, I felt very depressed about the living conditions of our friends in the countryside. Serwaa, 6 months pregnant, lost something dear to her heart: her husband, Kofi. The couple lived in an impoverished remote area of the Ashanti Region.
Kofi was bitten by a snake while working on his farm. His blood was clotting as the venom travelled through his body. The nearest health facility was about 10 kilometres away. A Good Samaritan offered to carry him on a bicycle to the medical facility, but he didn't make it. He died halfway through the journey.
Sadly, Serwaa too lost her life, three months later during labour. She bled heavily, and also died before reaching the nearest health centre.
What happened to Kofi and Serwaa is the story of most rural folks. And the greatest gift a government could give to people of such communities is accessible healthcare. Thankfully, under the administration of H.E. John Dramani Mahama, huge inroads were made in this direction.
Apart from the huge investments his government made towards the construction of Teaching Hospitals, Regional Hospitals, District Hospitals, Polyclinics, Health Centres and Institutional Hospitals such as the brand new 500-bed Military Hospital in Kumasi, 130-bed Maritime Hospital in Tema and the 104-bed Police Hospital Expansion in Accra and many others, what gladdens my heart is the numerous Community- based Health Planning and Service Compounds (CHPS Compounds) built by his government.
It would be recalled that while in government, President Mahama and his appointees pledged to sacrifice 10 percent of their salaries for the construction of CHPS Compounds to benefit our rural poor. Out of these donations, and other sources of funding, 2,860 CHPS Compounds were built before he left office.
A CHPS Compound which has features including a General OPD, Delivery Room, Consulting rooms, Nurses Station, Labour Ward and accommodation for staff, could serve a community of about 5,000 people; this means that the total of 2,860 CHPS Compounds built by the former President will cater for about 14 million of our rural folks, and prevent needless deaths as in the cases of Kofi and Serwaa: this absolutely defines the transformational leadership of President Mahama. And this is what the lyrics of Michael Smith's "Ancient Words" talks about.
I'll crave your indulgence to help me sing that song.
Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e'er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart
Ancient words, which is ever true which is capable of changing you and I, is feeling the pain of the poor and the needy; is about sacrificing for the underprivileged. This could only be imparted by someone with the spirit of love; a warmhearted individual; a compassionate person with an open heart: and that is exactly what former President John Dramani Mahama represent. This is the power that changes lives.
Anthony Obeng Afrane