Regional News of Thursday, 8 May 2014
The Sekyere Afram Plains District, one of the newly created assemblies in the Ashanti Region, which has Drobonso as its capital, is yet to receive the GH¢1 million seed money promised by the government, two years after its creation.
Described by experts as one of the most deprived districts in the region, this situation appears to be a burden on the young District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Fuseini Donkor, and his lieutenants in their attempt to give a new lease of life to the people of the area.
Ironically, Mr Donkor told the Daily Graphic he was unperturbed but rather committed to initiating development projects for the district to catch up with the rest of Ghana.
Mr Donkor and his team do not see the huge task as a challenge but rather a platform to demonstrate their capabilities in transforming the area.
The unique district, which shares borders with both the Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions at Anyinofi, near Atebubu, and Sempoa respectively, is also encompassed by 84 hamlets in a typical village system.
Indeed, it has the largest landmark in the southern sector of the country and tagged the fifth largest district in the country. Yet for now, it has very little to show in terms of development.
As per the 2010 Housing and Population Census, there are over 36,000 inhabitants in the district, with the assembly being divided into five zones: Drobonso, Anyinofi, Dawia, Funsua and Yakubu.
The district lacks basic amenities of life-potable water, electricity, accessible roads, district hospital, senior high school (SHS), decent housing units and network in terms of telecommunication connectivity.
The district can only boast 10 junior high schools (JHSs), which, by extension, means the completion of JHS is the end of education for schoolchildren in the area, resulting in an increasing rate of teenage pregnancy. Pregnancy Aside the high rate of teenage pregnancy, child betrothal is a common phenomenon in the district. Many girls under age 18 have babies.
The district lacks a medical doctor and medical assistants.
At least 97 per cent of the roads are unengineered and as such are not captured on the map of feeder roads. As a result, the inhabitants depend on farm trucks to travel outside the district.
What makes the story in the district even more pathetic is that human beings struggle with animals for water.
Staff of the district trek daily either from Kumawu or Kumasi to work due to the non-availability of decent accommodation.
Despite all these challenges, the district remains the recipient of the lowest of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) allocations.
As a result of the lack of electricity, the assembly spends a chunk of its money in fuelling the only generator at the office, as well as catering for the housing need of staff.
The construction of a modern 40-store market as one of the means of bringing the people closer in terms of trade is underway at Drobonso.
On health, the assembly is to benefit from one of the seven district hospitals promised by the government to make access to healthcare very easy. If considered, it would be built on a 50-acre land.
Currently, the district has only a Roman Catholic clinic and two CHPS compounds at Anyinofi and Dawia.
Aside what the government has promised, the assembly has secured a 50-acre land for the construction of a district hospital.
A children’s welfare clinic is to be built to tackle family planning issues and curb teenage pregnancy, as well as early childhood marriage, which has been an albatross on the neck of the assembly.
The assembly has acquired a 10-acre land for its administration block, which, when completed, will help ease pressure on the assembly’s funds.
The assembly has also been earmarked to benefit from a government community school on a 100-acre land to serve seven communities.
The building of a six-unit teachers quarters is in progress at Hamidu, while the construction of a two-unit classroom block at Issaka has also taken off.
Water and other things
The assembly is drilling a number of boreholes to provide potable water for the people in the area.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) is in the process of fixing site poles at Anyinofi, Hamidu and Drobonso to make telecommunication connectivity easy.
A police post has been built pending its inauguration. But that is contingent on how early accommodation and places of convenience are built for the officers. A 15-member community watchdog committee has been inaugurated to help provide security in the area in the absence of a police post.
The DCE and the District Co-ordinating Director, Mr Johnson Nyarko, told the Daily Graphic in separate interviews that they were motivated to work despite the hostile environment.