As the age-old adage, ‘’ information is power’’! It represents a fundamental principle that underscores democratic societies and empowers communities; one such testimony to the power of information is the story of the Aworopataa community health centre.
Over a decade ago, in 2008, the Aworopataa community in the Techiman Municipal Assembly, a contractor had commenced the construction of a community health centre, promising to bridge the healthcare gap. While the project was tied to a more significant assignment in the community, it had the potential to change the lives of many. With the initial construction reaching the roofing and primary finishing stages, it looked set to serve the community, but the health centre’s construction halted without explanation.
The once-promising structure became an eyesore, taken over by bats, and insects, and surrounded by
weeds. As years rolled by, the facility that was meant to promote health ironically turned into
a deteriorating symbol of neglect.
Fast forward to 2020, the LANETs (Local Accountability Networks) from Africa Freedom of Information Centre’s partner, GACC, were trained on access to information , open contracting and community monitoring under the project funded by William and Flora Hewlett foundation.
The LANETS armed with the power of information, they set out on a mission to monitor 28 government projects in different communities and Aworopataa was one of them. Their strategy was based on pillars
crucial for active citizenship – access to information, open contracting, citizens’ participation, and contract monitoring.
Despite facing challenges in accessing all required information, the LANETs persisted and monitored Aworopataa health center from which the monitoring unveiled the sorry state of the health unit was and specifically revealing 14 years of abandonment.
The findings evidenced by pictures were submitted to the Techiman Municipal Assembly, which committed to completing the abandoned projects. Soon after, the health centre that had been left in ruins for over a decade was not just restored but commissioned, ready to serve the community.
This facility’s revival is more than just bricks and mortar coming together. It represents hope and health for over 12,000 individuals from 400 households. Women, children, and men who had been devoid of proper healthcare for 14 years finally have access to the services they deserve. The center’s revival means better disease management, reduced child and maternal mortality, and improved general wellbeing. In addition with fewer health concerns, individuals can work efficiently, children can attend school regularly, and the elderly receive the care they require. The collective effort to bring the health center back to life also fostered unity and trust within the community. It has became a symbol of what can be achieved when a community comes together.