A medical centre in rural Ghana owes a large part of its construction to the determined efforts of Griffith University medical students on the Gold Coast.
A five-year journey linking Queensland with Africa will culminate with the unveiling of the $200,000 Dabaa Medical Centre, a milestone to the Herculean fund-raising efforts of the not-for-profit student group HOPE4HEALTH.
Griffith University Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery student, Warwick Isaac, will be among the first to visit the new centre when he starts a university placement there on Monday (August 8).
“The completion of the building marks our first major success as an organisation, meaning it will always have special significance for HOPE4HEALTH volunteers in the future,” Brodie Quinn, HOPE4HEALTH President, said.
The student organisation raised more than $100,000 towards the building of the medical centre through a series of initiatives since 2006.
Griffith University’s Dean of Medicine Professor Simon Broadley paid a glowing tribute to the student effort.
“The dedication and philanthropy demonstrated by the student body at the School of Medicine in raising the funds through HOPE4HEALTH and implementing the construction of this facility in Dabaa is an outstanding achievement,” he said.
“It embodies the vision the school holds for its graduating doctors as significant contributors to the health requirements of communities both locally and internationally.
“I never cease to be amazed by the extraordinary abilities of this talented group of future doctors.
“I have no doubt that the medical centre in Dabaa will have a very significant impact on the health status of this community.”
Rural and indigenous health trips, teddy bear hospitals and the group’s two major fundraising events, a jazz dinner and golf day, helped generate support for the ambitious project.
Now known as the ‘Gold Coast of West Africa’, Ghana proved the ideal location for the HOPE4HEALTH initiative.
The centre will provide general health services, with an emphasis on child and maternal services to address the gap identified in the Dabaa community.
Residents currently rely heavily on international aid and debt relief with health services in areas of child and maternal care underdeveloped.
An agreement with the Ghanaian Government Ministry of Health was fundamental to the sustainability of the project to ensure staffed health care workers in the centre.
“A lack of trained professionals in Ghana meant the need for the facility was obvious and urgent,” HOPE4HEALTH founder, Dr Marty Brewster, said.
“The excitement and appreciation of the community for the completion of the project is remarkable. The HOPE4HEALTH students have been overwhelmed with gratitude for their work.”
HOPE4HEALTH is a non-profit student-run initiative to improve health outcomes in rural, Indigenous and international communities.
“HOPE4HEALTH will continue to have strong medical ties with the centre through student placements to meet their goal of reducing health and inequality for the Dabaa community,” Brodie Quinn says.
“One in five children in Dabaa under the age of five dies from preventative diseases, with the closest health facility more than half a day away.”
HOPE4HEALTH will host their annual fundraising Jazz Dinner Dance on September 3 at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, with the aim to improve on the fundraising record of $60,000.