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Diasporia News of Friday, 28 March 2008

Source: - Reggie Tagoe in Modena

Okwahuman Unions aid Atibie Hospital

The National Unions of Okwahuman, made up of Ghanaians from a part of Eastern Region in Ghana, resident in Italy and Switzerland are to form a united union to help with projects in their community in Ghana.

The two unions took the decision at a meeting between representatives of both sides in Modena, Italy, after an event to raise funds to solve a water problem situation at Atibie Governmant Hospital, located in their community in Ghana.

Speaking at the fund raising function, the President of Okwahuman Union in Switzerland, Dr. Abena Keller-Agyepong, urged Ghanaians living abroad to first ask the needs of their community back home in Ghana before considering on the kind of assistance to the community. She stressed that there have been instances that Ghanaians in the diaspora have sent home a kind of machine or equipment to their community contrary to what the people need as priorities. “We might send home some machines or clothes whereas the priority need of the people may be electricity, water or otherwise”, she noted.

Explaining the water situation at the Atibie Government Hospital, Dr. Abena Keller-Agyepong said some natives of Kwahu resident in Switzerland visited Ghana and whilst there they had information from the Chief Medical Doctor of the hospital, Dr. Osabutey, that water supply to the hospital is contaminated. It was said mineral deposits in the area and old iron pipes, dating back some 50years, used for the pipe bore holes to supply water to the hospital is believed to be responsible for the contamination.
The Okwahuman Union in Switzerland upon being aware of this decided to team up with their counterparts in Italy to help solve the problem.
She reminded participants of the event the story in the Bible about Nehemiah, who upon hearing of the broken walls of Jerusalem rallied his people to rebuilt it. “The time has come for Kwahus in the diaspora to come to together and co-operate to initiate projects in our community in Ghana,” she stated.
Dr. Keller-Agyepong, who was the guest of honour at the function, also advised Ghanaians not to wait on Government for projects in their community if they can come together to do it. She encouraged natives of Okwahu abroad saying: “We should systemise our community so we can feel happy and proud when we go home.”
The Okwahu Union in Switzerland President also mentioned that the Union has already sent two ambulances to the Atibie hospital as gifts when they were reliably informed it is another major problem at the hospital.
The Vice President of the Union in Switzerland, Kwaku Boatin, also in a remark said local or traditional efforts at development in respective areas are designed to supplement governmental efforts to achieve a whole round of development of a nation. “Whilst the government must shoulder or be encouraged to assume its obligatory functions, especially undertaking heavy duty utility developments of health, education, major quality water supply, making provision for education, agriculture among others, mobilization of local efforts are welcomed but such efforts must not be seen or designed to eliminate or replace governmental programs,” he said.
In an initial address to participants which included Okwahuman Unions from Brescia, Vicenza, Pordenone, Udine and other Ghanaian Unions in Italy, the National President of Okwahuman Union in Italy, Antwi Adjei, expressed sincere thanks to all participants for being part of a function to help the people of Kwahu in Ghana. He said the situation at the Atibie Government Hospital is a health hazzard to patients and people living in surrounding areas and must be tackled with urgency.
Dr. Keller-Agyepong later cut a tape infront of a miniature design of the hospital to declare open the initiation of assistance to the hospital.
Representatives of the two national unions decided to seek an expertise advise on the project with three possibilities - to replace the existing iron pipes with PVC, or to use modern technology in digging a much deeper bore hole to avoid the mineral deposits or to relay new pipe lines from the town centre where it’s learnt has clean water supply.
The event also saw inauguration of elected Executive Committee members of Okwahuman Union in Modena and Reggio Emilia. The occasion was graced with music, dancing and serving of refreshments.

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