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03.07.2019 Article

State of Atebubu-Kwame Danso Road: Threat to Public Health?

By Samson Gbolu
State of Atebubu-Kwame Danso Road: Threat to Public Health?

The Atebubu-Kwame Danso road is more of a death trap now. I have lost count of the number of times the construction of this road got captured in annual budgets of successive governments, and yet funds have never been made available for its construction.

We are losing precious lives annually as a result of the poor state of this road. Its current state is also deterring numerous potential investors and development partners – both foreign and local. Of course, criminals are also taking undue advantage of the poor state of the road, robbing commuters of the road at gunpoint [I fell a victim twice, and narrowly escaped one].

From Public Health perspective, government should not underestimate the fact that the current state of the road is making it very difficult to transport patients during emergency situations. The unnecessary delays women in labour encounter and the inconveniences associated with constantly running into “manholes” while using the road may be a component cause of the annual maternal mortalities we have on our hands. Isn’t every component cause a necessary cause? Most often than not, women requiring Emergency Obstetric Care who are referred from Kwame Danso and other communities to Atebubu, Yeji or Mampong are transported in commercial vehicles – weird? It is common knowledge that one of the determining factors of maternal mortality is delay in getting to medical facilities, and poor road network like the one under discussion is a major contributing factor of these delays.

I, however, cannot turn a blind eye at the numerous health promoting and safe motherhood interventions governments have implemented over the years. Interventions such as Safe Motherhood Clinical Protocols, Free Antenatal Care Services, Free Delivery Services, the establishment of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) among others are major interventions improving maternal health in Ghana today. That notwithstanding, we could be yielding more positive health outcomes, especially in maternal and infant health if government would take a second look at road network as a major upstream factor determining the health of the vulnerable population mentioned above. As it stands now, we have a huge deficit in ambulance services in Ghana and leaving major access roads like the one under discussion unattended to is simply unacceptable.

Let’s shift from the status quo of the one-sided medical approach to addressing the health of the population and adopt a holistic approach to addressing our health problems. It is only when we adopt the holistic approach is when we would make progress towards reducing our disease burden and avoid major preventable causes of injuries and mortalities. The holistic approach to health is the surest approach to achieving our health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their smart targets by 2030.

Every life counts; fix Atebubu-Kwame Danso road now!

Author: Samson Gbolu
Founder & Executive Director, PHAN Ghana
Email: [email protected]

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