Nzema at a glance
The Nzema people comprise 350,000 within Ghana's total population of 26.4 million. Out of the three hospitals that serve the region, there are only five practicing physicians. The patient to physician ratio is 70,000 to 1, a staggering comparison to the United States where it is 400 patients per physician. Most access care by foot or taxi, but many cannot afford medical services at an average annual income of $774 per wage earner. Patients may choose to pay for a diagnostic test or x-ray to determine prognosis, but cannot afford necessary treatment or procedures.
Notable health disparities include infant mortality (37.37 deaths per 1,000 births), hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, joint and muscle pain, and infectious diseases. Reported rates of HIV are 1.3%, but are more likely near 15% according to blood bank records.
Annual medical mission teams provide mobile clinics in rural villages that are accessible to the future Nzema Baptist Hospital. Of the patients seen in our mobile medical clinics, nearly 50% have undiagnosed hypertension, often with readings well above 180/110 mmHg. In partnership with the Ghana Health Service, all patients in clinic receive a de-worming medication. Medical care focuses on acute pain, wound care, infectious diseases, and daily health. Patients have been referred to area hospitals for tuberculosis, suspected tumors, severe malnutrition, extensive wounds likely requiring amputation, and other emergent issues. The hope of the Nzema Baptist Hospital is to provide accessible care to patients in rural, underserved areas; increase general health education and well-being, manage chronic illness, and address the listed health disparities.