In a heartwarming display of community service and empowerment, the Mandela Washington Fellows Association of Ghana has organized a remarkable event that has left a lasting impact on the residents of Aboabo-Kesse, a community in the Atwima Kwanwoma district of the Ashanti Region.

About 400 residents were the fortunate beneficiaries of a free health screening and career development initiative, a testament to the association's unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of Ghanaians.

Led by Dr. Laud Anthony Basing, President of the Mandela Washington Fellows Association, the group said it has consistently engaged in impactful volunteer activities that have touched the lives of thousands, if not millions, of individuals throughout Ghana – with each region boasting of its own set of activities.

The occasion was organized as part of the National Volunteer Day, a testament to the association's deep-rooted ethos of giving back to the community. The event took on a dual purpose, serving both the health and career development needs of the residents.

It held special significance as a fellow had successfully secured a grant through World Connect to establish a health centre in the community. Consequently, understanding the health conditions and concerns of community members became pivotal.

The project's comprehensive approach also encompassed business clinics, land issues, agriculture, and various other aspects aimed at providing residents with guidance and empowering them economically.

Dr. Basing highlighted the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the area.

"Interacting with the district director of health services for instance, we recognised that Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is a major problem in these communities particularly, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and even cancers, they are quite prevalent in these areas," he noted.

Ama Duncan, Founder of the Fabulous Woman Network, shared the noble motive behind the initiative, emphasizing its role in raising awareness about the health facility and encouraging residents to prioritize regular check-ups.

She said it was an act of giving back to society and fostering a culture of proactive health management.

Joseph Adomako, the Atwima Kwawoma District Director of Health, praised the association for addressing the pressing health challenges faced by the residents. He underscored the significant burden of NCDs in the region, ranking as the 8th top cause of outpatient department (OPD) attendance.

Mr. Adomako highlighted a critical issue – the delay in seeking medical attention. Despite the presence of healthcare facilities in the district, residents often deferred seeking medical help until their conditions deteriorated.

He shared a sobering anecdote about a child's convulsion due to delayed treatment, shedding light on the crucial need for early reporting and intervention.

"We have a number of facilities in the district, so accessibility is not a problem but the problem is early reporting, people don't report early,” he indicated.

He highlighted the dire state of the district's roads, which adversely affected healthcare delivery and even discouraged nurses from accepting postings to certain areas. Government intervention was deemed essential to address these challenges.

The beneficiaries of the event expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the association and its partners for helping them understand their health status and providing viable treatment options.

One resident, Yaa Chituah, conveyed her appreciation, saying, "May God bless you so much. I'm really happy. Whatever you spent here, may it be replenished."

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, a program launched in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), continues to invest in the next generation of African leaders.

This fellowship program, which began in 2014, equips young African leaders with vital skills, leadership training, and mentoring, spanning various tracks, including business, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and public administration. It's a testament to the power of individuals coming together to make a profound impact on their communities, embodying the spirit of positive change and transformation.

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