Village Health Center in West Africa

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Help us build a village health center in Togo to provide basic health care to seven rural villages.
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Ross Mazer
Email Verified
Health
Dagnigan
Togo
3 Team Members

Short Summary

Lack of access to medical services is the most urgent problem facing Dagnigan, a village in the mountains of western Togo.  People routinely fall ill and die from curable diseases or have to travel long distances for basic medical care.

This project supports the construction of a Village Health Center.  Located in Dagnigan, the Health Center will meet basic health needs for seven villages with an approximate population of 6,000 people.

Why A Village Health Center?

Currently, the closest health center is seven miles from Dagnigan.  Although the distance does not seem prohibitive by American standards, the roads are mountainous and in poor condition.  They wash away during the rainy season.  Cars are rare, and motorcycle taxis provide the only means of transportation.  A motorcycle taxi is expensive and dangerous:  indeed, drivers often load three people at a time.  

These conditions particularly burden pregnant women, small children and the sick.  Many people wait and see if their condition will improve rather than seek treatment.  Pregnant women forgo pre-natal care and give birth in unsanitary conditions.  Young children do not receive vaccinations.  The use of black-market drugs--which are frequently stored under the hot sun, mislabeled, or fraudulent--is common.

The proposed Village Health Center will do the following:

  • Provide pregnant women with regular pre-natal care
  • Decrease complications during childbirth
  • Increase the rate of vaccinations for children
  • Reduce illness and death from preventable or easily curable diseases
  • Reduce reliance on traditional healers for modern diseases
  • Prevent poisoning from black-market drugs
  • Provide immediate first-aid for injuries
  • Reduce the cost and danger of travelling to remote health centers

In addition to improving the community's health, the Village Health Center will also promote social development.  Currently, professionals are afraid to live in Dagnigan because they could get sick without access to medical care.  The Village Health Center will encourage teachers, agricultural agents, and non-governmental organizations to settle in Dagnigan.  Students will benefit from quality education and farmers from technical support.

My History With Dagnigan

In 2006, I went to Togo as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Of all the villages in which I worked, Dagnigan impressed me as the most organized even though--or perhaps because--it was also one of the most rural.  The projects we started are thriving more than five years later.

In 2007, for example, a group of twenty-five merchants, mostly women, formed a village savings and loan association--the first one of its kind in the region.  The association generated capital for launching or expanding small businesses.  Since then, several more groups have formed in neighboring villages.  In 2011, I helped them raise money for the construction of a micro-finance office and meeting hall in Dagnigan.  Remarkably, they completed the construction within two months.  You can read about this project in the attached "Friends of Togo" newsletter and see pictures of the microfinance office on the gallery webpage.

To give another example, in 2008, just before I left Togo, we completed a pig husbandry project in Dagnigan.  Although we had to contend with unforeseen difficulties, such as a nation-wide shortage of cement, the construction was completed in about two months.  You can see pictures of the pig husbandry project, which is thriving today, on the gallery webpage.

As you can tell, Dagnigan possesses extraordinary organization and commitment.  In part because of past successful projects, I am confident that the village health center will be constructed efficiently and enjoy long-term sustainability.

How Was This Project Developed? 

In late 2012, the village development committees for Dagnigan and six nearby villages--Danyvi, Megbeadjre, Paskou, Fon, Kabo, and Kodjo-Aza--in consultation with a local non-governmental organization, Togolese Association for the Fight Against Poverty in Rural Areas ("the NGO"), conducted a participatory diagnostic to assess the needs of the population.  For the reasons described above, the lack of hospital services ranked as the most urgent community problem.  Over the following months, we worked out the details for the Village Health Center.  You can access links to the health center blueprints and expanded French-language budget on the gallery webpage.

What Is Our Timetable?

The village of Dagnigan has already donated a site for the health center, which is currently available.  The seven villages will begin collecting sand and gravel from local riverbeds once we have raised a substantial portion of the funding.  Construction will begin in mid- to late-September depending on the end of the rainy season.  It should be completed in approximately three months.

Who Will Manage The Construction?

The village development committees are responsible for organizing the community contribution, set forth in more detail below, including but not limited to the collection of sand and gravel.  A local non-governmental organization, Togolese Association for the Fight Against Poverty in Rural Areas, will monitor construction to ensure compliance with building standards.  Mr. Yawobio Otchotcho, who coordinated the pig husbandry and village savings and loan association projects with me, is Project Director and responsible for dispersal of funds.  Mr. Otchotcho is also a Christian Pastor and Principal of the Dagnigan Middle School. 

What Is The Community Contribution?

Dagnigan and the other villages bear a significant portion of the project's cost.  They are responsible for:

  • Donating a site for the Village Health Center
  • Excavating and transporting sand and gravel from local riverbeds
  • Transporting water for mixing cement
  • Site cleanup and manual labor
  • Excavating and filling in trenches
  • Providing and transporting wooden planks for doors, windows, and furniture
  • Monitoring and storing materials during construction
  • Providing food and water for construction workers
  • Purchasing initial medical equipment and medicines
  • Paying two full-time salaries

The hefty community contribution indicates the villages' commitment to the Health Center and its long-term sustainability.

For more information about the last two bullet-points and the community's plans to manage the Health Center after construction, please see the "updates" tab.

What Is Our Proposed Budget?

The construction includes an eight-room health center and pharmacy, three latrines, two showers, and some start-up equipment.  The budget is broken down by community contribution and requested aid.  Notably, the budget under-represents the community contribution by not including the site donation, purchase of medical equipment, or payment of salaries.  Amounts are in U.S. Dollars.

 Item

Total Cost

Community Contribution

Aid Requested

 Health Center

14,640

3,438

11,201

 Latrines

2,139

488

1,651

 Showers

444

44

401

 Equipment

1,862

0

1,862

 Total Cost

$19,085

$3,970

$15,115

A more detailed budget is available on the gallery webpage.

How Can You Help?

Your contributions go directly to fund the construction of the Village Health Center.  To thank you for your donations, we offer "perks" from Dagnigan.  Of course, we are grateful for contributions in any amount.

How Else Can You Help?

Please share a link to our campaign on Facebook and twitter and tell your friends and family about it.

Thank you for your support of the Village Health Center!  

Find This Campaign On
$15,365USD
raised by 134 people in 2 months
102% funded
0 time left
$15,115 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 17, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $75USD
    Supporter

    Receive e-mail updates about the Village Health Center.

    14 claimed
  • $150USD
    Donor

    Receive a picture of the completed Village Health Center and personalized thank you note.

    12 claimed
  • $300USD
    Friend

    Receive a length of pagne, or traditional West-African cloth, from Dagnigan, with e-mail updates about the Village Health Center.

    1 claimed
  • $400USD
    Partner

    Your name will be listed on the Village Health Center's wall of donors, and you will receive e-mail updates about the campaign.

    2 claimed
  • $500USD
    Patron

    Receive all of the above perks.

    3 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Sponsor

    A room will be named after you or the person or organization of your choice in the Village Health Center. You will also receive a picture and personalized thank you note.

    0 out of 8 claimed
  • $2,500USD
    Benefactor

    In recognition of your donation, the Village Health Center will be named after you or the person or organization of your choice. You will also receive a picture and personalized thank you note.

    0 out of 1 claimed
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