Blog: 18th July 2012
last day in the field today. The team is
feeling a little down as we are now into a regular routine and it feels strange
that it is going to come to an end today. But, given how tired everyone is,
there is also a slight sense of relief that by the end of today we will have
achieved all that we set out to do.
We start at
Oparekrom Local Authority Primary School. There aren’t so many children and
they are relatively well-behaved so we have a fairly easy start to the day.
Following the introduction and Q&A session we measure, weigh and hand out
medicine to 138 children.
packed-up quickly and soon onto the next school. This school – Nsawam
Presbyterian Primary – turns out to be much more of a challenge. There are a
large number of children and they are very unruly, difficult to manage and
won’t listen to instructions. Although we divide the large group into two for
the introduction and Q&A session, Mark and Hayford find it a real struggle
to get them to listen attentively. We eventually get through it, though. And
then we’re onto measuring, weighing and administering medicine again.
of the introductory sessions is repeated whilst the children are queuing at the
stations. In addition to their normal responsibilities Johanna, Emilia,
Martina, Enoch, Bettina and Mark spend a considerable amount of time trying to
get the right child in the right place at the right time. Hayford, Simon and
Stephen patrol the school playground rounding-up strays and trying to get some
order in place. It’s hard work but we eventually process 284 children. Given
the amount of time it’s taken, it’s disappointing to learn that we’ve processed
fewer than we had imagined.
the end of our fieldwork for Deworm Ghana 2012. It’s been a difficult day. But,
when we look back at the last 8 working days and the 18 schools we have
visited, we can feel a real sense of achievement of having done a good and
left now is for Johanna, Emilia and Mark to finish the data entry and then
compile the 2012 report.
It’s been a
very rewarding and successful project for all those that have taken part. And,
hopefully, it will have been of lasting benefit for the almost 5000 children to
whom we have administered de-worming medicine.
extremely long and tiring day yesterday for the volunteers, we have a much
easier day ahead of us today. We will be at two smaller schools today in
Kwaffokrom and Ntoaso – both not too far from Darmang.
volunteers are colour-coded: the boys wearing blue shirts and the girls wearing
red. In addition to yesterday’s team members we are also joined by Amrita a
volunteer from the U.S. who has been working on the VPWA microfinance project.
We start at
Akuffokrom Local Authority Basic School. The children here are remarkably quiet
and orderly – perhaps even a little apprehensive. It’s interesting how the
schools here are all so different from one another. After the introduction to
worms and how to stay healthy, Hayford has a real challenge on his hands to get
the children to participate actively in the Q&A session. They need lots of
encouragement, but after a slow start, Hayford eventually gets a dozen children
to explain what they’ve learnt about worms. Each of them gets a pen or a pencil
in reward for their contribution.
the 148 children really quickly and are complete and packed-up well before
10am. It’s been an easy day so far compared to yesterday.
Ntoaso S.D.A. Primary School just 15 minutes later and start the set-up. Only
three parents are here and we would ideally like more to be present. One of the
key aspects of the project is that we also educate the parents on how to keep
their children clear of worms and the importance of giving them de-worming
medicine at least once per year. So, we send off the children who live locally
to fetch their parents. After 15 minutes we have a classroom full of 15
attentive parents listening to Hayford’s presentation.
parallel, Mark does the introductory presentation to the children. Within a
short while we are back to measuring, weighing and administering medicine. We
process 187 children and are all done by 11:30 and back in Darmang by noon.
Martina start the data entry process, Mark writes this blog and Emilia, Johanna
and Amrita prepare our lunch. We should be finished with the data entry quite
quickly and can take the afternoon and evening off which
will be really nice.
We’ve had a
couple of personnel changes, so here’s an update on who’s in the team. From
Ghana: Hayford, Simon, Stephen and Enoch. From Sweden: Johanna and Emilia. From
Italy: Martina. From Austria: Bettina. From the UK: Mark.
We’ve got a
tough day ahead. Three schools in Nsawam with a total of over 1000 children.
We do our
usual introduction about worms followed by a Q&A session conducted by
Hayford in front of hundreds of children at Reverend Father Weiggers Roman
Catholic Primary School. We’re then quickly at work at our three stations with
long queues of children at each. There are so many children that it takes us
through until 12pm to get everyone processed. Somehow, two or three hours of
work doesn’t sound like much but it’s hot and tiring all the same. We’ve given
medication to 739 children, which is very satisfying.
over to two joint schools (Osaebo Local Authority Primary School and
SakyiAgyakwa Primary ‘B’), just five minutes drive away from the first school, and
so no time for lunch or a break. Just a quick swig from a bottle of water and a
cookie or tangerine each as we drive.
all the children together in the playground to listen to the talk on worms.
But, this time it starts raining just as Mark starts his presentation. So, we
quickly move the children into two classrooms and give two separate
presentations and Q&A sessions in very cramped conditions.
measuring, weighing and administering medicine soon after. We work quickly
despite the large numbers. All finished and everyone exhausted by 14:30 having
processed a further 359 children.
Johanna and Emilia sit on the ground at the edge of the school playground to
take a rest and are quickly surrounded by children guessing their ages and
reciting their names. This is one of the things that make this project fun.
are back in red shirts again and this time also joined by Adele and Anna.
we’re visiting two Islamic schools in Adoagiyri – just a few minutes drive from
Darmang. We’re all set up at Al-Rajhi Islamic Primary School by 09:30 and with
all the schoolchildren gathered in front of us in the playground. This is
another fairly small school, so the children are quickly gathered to listen to
the introductory talk on worms and how to keep clean, safe and worm-free.
time for Hayford’s Q&A session, they are all super-enthusiastic to answer
the questions and show how much they have remembered from the presentation.
Today, any child answering a question gets a pen as a reward.
stations, we process the 165 children very quickly and are all done by 10:30.
The second school – Al-Badar Islamic School – is so close it only takes a few
short minutes to get there and we are already setting up by 10:45.
the school is somewhat different to all the other ones we’ve been to. Usually,
we have the children assemble in the playground and the stations are set up in
a shaded passageway at the side of the school. This time, though, we’re
upstairs and inside in quite a small, enclosed school. It feels quite strange
to be inside and the noise is deafening as the kids start to assemble in the
main room. But, once they settle down, they are very attentive during the
introductory session and answer all the questions keenly.
space constraints, we decide to set up just two stations: one for boys and one
for girls. As it’s a fairly small school, we’re finished by 11:45 having given
medication to 166 children and back in Darmang just after noon for a bite of
lunch and then starting the data entry process.
long, tough day yesterday for the volunteers, we have a much easier day today –
two smaller schools in Pokrom.
at Ahamahama L/A Primary School just after 9am and start with our usual set-up
routine. Given the size of the school, we decide that two stations will be
enough to process all the children: one station for girls, and one for boys.
the deafening noise of the two large schools in Nsawam yesterday, this is a
much quieter affair. The children are very quiet and orderly and are quickly
gathered together for the introductory session in the school playground.
into full swing with measuring, weighing and administering medicine. The
children are all present and accounted for and we don’t need to search for
stragglers this time. Easy! We’re all done in much less than an hour. 75
children in total.
school (Dago L/A Primary School) is also smaller. Set in a rural area with
beautiful hills in the background this is a really pleasant place to do some
volunteer work. We’re set up quickly with three stations and back into our
familiar routine. The children seem to really enjoy the Q&A session with
Hayford and appear to be having a lot of fun. And – as with the children at all
the other schools – they (143 children) happily take their de-worming medicine.
we complete the work quickly. This time, the school has a little surprise for
us: a cool box with an ice-cold malt drink for each volunteer. A nice
refreshing end to the morning!
We’re back at
the volunteer accommodation in Darmang by lunch and the data entry for today is
quite light, so we should have an early finish today which is nice.
red for the last two days, but today the team head out at 8am in crisp new blue
VPWA shirts to our toughest challenge yet: two very large schools in Nsawam (Nsawam
Methodist and Nana Osae Djan Primary) with a combined total of roughly 1050
we’re into our third day of the project, we’re starting to get into a slick
routine with each of us having defined roles.
team sets up three stations at the first school: table and chair for a teacher
to sit and record the details of each child plus scales and a tape measure.
And, we hang up a “De-worm Ghana 2012” banner for all to see.
the schoolchildren are gathered in the playground, Mark explains to them about
the dangers of worms and how to stay safe. Hayford then steps up to provide an
animated and entertaining Q&A session with small prizes (fancy pencils) to
each child that answers a question correctly.
soon into the thick of the action with Kathy, Emilia and Johanna giving out
medicine and reward stickers and Eric, Enoch and Mark weighing and measuring
each child. Hayford, Simon and Stephen coordinate the activities, organize the
queuing and ensure that all the children attend one of the stations.
minutes of frenzied activity, we’re onto the second school and a repeat process
of set-up, introduction, Q&A, weighing, measuring and administering
done by 1:30pm and completely exhausted.
home to California after a successful and valuable contribution to the project
whilst Emilia, Johanna and Mark work into the evening entering all of today’s
data into the computer for analysis.
today included 2 villages in the municipality, the first being Obodan where we
visited Obodan Presbyterian school. This
location was not as far as Aburi but in the same direction, so the scenery was
familiar as 8 volunteers made the trip through the countryside. At this school, there were 168 children in attendance all in their
matching uniforms of blue with white trim.
The children were neat and tidy and seemed excited to learn about worms!
gave an introduction to the children, but in this case there was a Q and A
session conducted by Mr. Siaw which confirmed that the children had learned the
basics. Many correctly answered
questions about prevention (wearing shoes, hand washing, bathing) and so on. They received a pen if they gave a correct answer,
which occurred in nearly every case and proved their attentiveness.
children lined up as before, by gender and classroom. Their wonderful teachers valiantly recorded
much important information and the children gamely consumed the worm medication. All went smoothly and we were finished in
stop was Nsaba Presbyterian Primary School in Pokrom-Nsaba. This was just a short drive back towards
Darmang from the first. Like a
well-oiled machine, the children lined up by gender and grade and the process
went extremely smoothly. A total of 294
students were in attendance and they were all pleasant and friendly to a
fault! The teachers and staff too were
helpful and supportive.
successful day….tomorrow will be a big day as we have 2 large schools in Nsawam
which are prepared to receive us.
By Kathy Brady
outing was to P.W.C.E. Demonstration Primary school in the section of Aburi, in
the area of Akuapim South, Ghana. After
a day of orientation and planning, there were 8 excited volunteers of many
different nationalities including the UK, US, Ghana, and Sweden. Hayford Siaw led the way as we drove from the
VPWA center in Darmang to Aburi through beautiful agrarian regions and up to a
small peak where the weather was pleasantly cool with a light mist.
children received us enthusiastically as we hung our “Deworm Ghana” banner and
gathered the 222 primary students in one area of the school grounds and the
parents in attendance in another area.
Mark from the UK gave a rousing introduction to the students on what
parasitic worms do to our bodies, and how to prevent them. The methods he taught the children included
handwashing and avoiding going barefoot in the soil. The children were great listeners and
following this introduction, they lined up to receive the chewable tablets
which were being given by the volunteers to cure the students of soil
transmitted helminths (STH). Meanwhile,
Mr. Siaw discussed the importance of treating their children in the future for
these worms on a regular basis. He also
stressed the preventive measures and fielded questions.
As a new
part of the initiative this year, weight and height were recorded for future
calculation of body mass index. VPWA
feels this data will be important in assessing the overall health and
well-being of the children served by the program.
teachers were an important part of the process, dutifully recording each
child’s name, gender, and the numerical values. Volunteers including Kathy from the US,
Amelia and Johanna from Sweden, Mark and locals such as Simon, Eric, and
Stephen (Educational Health Director for the Municipality) and of course
Hayford conducted measurements and treatment management. The kids then stepped
over to a VPWA volunteer to receive a tablet of Albendazole, a broad spectrum
treatment for STH. The tablets were
chewable and we were told they tasted sweet!
Each child drank some water and then received a sticker for their
stop was also in Aburi, at Aburi Methodist Primary. There the children also eagerly received the
information and willingly came forward for their weight, height, and
medication. All in all a very successful
Today, the VPWA Dewom Ghana team concluded its mission to administer albendazole deworming medication to as many students as possible throughout the Akuapim South Municipal District of Ghana. The team visited two schools on the final day of the program, Tieku L/A Primary School and Seventh Day Adventist School, both located in Nsawam.
At Tieku L/A Primary School, 169 female students age 6 to 15 and 144 male students age 5 to 16 participated in the deworming exercise. In total, 313 students were dewormed at the school. Then, at Seventh Day Adventist School, 88 female students age 7 to 15 and 81 male students age 6 to 17 were dewormed. In total, 169 students at Seventh Day Adventist School were dewormed, brining the day’s total number of dewormed students to 482.
In conclusion, the VPWA Deworm Ghana Program was a huge success, resulting in 3900 total student beneficiaries at 16 different area schools. 51% of these students (2008) were female, and 49% (1892) were male; all students ranged in age from 5 to 18 years of age.
VPWA had a great time conducting the program and is eager to expand upon the work next year. We thank everyone who participated in Deworm Ghana and contributed to its great success!
Today was a record breaking day for the Deworm Ghana Project, as the VPWA volunteers administered medication to 918 students! As a result, the Deworm Ghana Project has succeeded in reaching an important milestone of deworming over 3000 children! In fact, 3047 students have taken part in Deworm Ghana.
Again, VPWA visited three different schools to conduct education in the prevention of worms as well as to administer albendazole to treat such worms. First, VPWA visited Duayeden L/C Primary School in the village of Duayeden. At the school, the volunteers were greeted warmly by both the children and the teachers, who also helped us stress the importance of preventing worm infections by ALWAYS wearing shoes when outside, NEVER eating fruits or vegetables without first washing them, ALWAYS washing hands using soap and water prior to eating, and finally, NEVER drinking water that has not been treated. The VPWA team welcomed such enthusiastic support from the teachers at Duayeden L/C Primary School – these students are lucky to have such great teachers! After administering medication to 34 girls age 6 to 15 and 29 boys age 5 to 15, the team had to move onto the next school.
Next, in the village of Anoff, VPWA visited students at Anoff L/A KG/Primary School. At this school, 127 female students age 5 to 15 and 125 male students age 5 to 16 participated in the deworming exercise. In total, 252 students at Anoff L/A KG/Primary School were dewormed by VPWA. In addition, a large group of parents attended the program, also receiving health education regarding the importance of maintaining good hygiene to prevent future worm infections as well as administering deworming medication every six months to treat any infections that may occur.
Finally, VPWA returned to the town of Adoagyiri to deworm nearly 600 students at Adoagyiri R/C Catholic Primary School. Specifically, VPWA administerd deworming medication to a total of 593 students. 381 of the students were girls, ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old. 212 of the students were boys, ranging in age from 6 to 18 years old.
Two more days remain in VPWA’s special medical outreach efforts. Let’s hope these two days are just as successful as those that have come before!
By Nicole Bolton - VPWA 2011 Deworm Ghana Volunteer