Unlocking a Door
December 2015 marked the beginning of the Samuel Seidu Memorial Health Center’s twentieth year of service. In January 1995, Paul Steenwyk, a Christian builder, with his wife and their 4 children arrived in Ghana for an indefinite stay. After contact with the Baptist Mid-Missions Ghana Field Council, Paul had volunteered to come out to Ghana to build a clinic building for a new medical outreach in northern Ghana. The site of this medical outreach would be the rural village of Baayiri. This farming community 17 miles from the regional capital, Wa, had been designated by the local Ministry of Health office as an area in need of a medical facility.
The clinic opened its doors for clients in December of 1995. However, one door was not opened—the delivery room door. Since the missionary nurse-in-charge was not a certified midwife, the Council of Nurses and Midwives would not allow her to deliver babies at the clinic site. A properly trained and licenses midwife had to be at clinic to allow deliveries in our delivery room. The door to that room was locked and over time it was used for storage and a temporary office for our administrator.
The Medical Committee of Samuel Seidu Memorial Health Center tried various ways to find a staff midwife: they appealed to the Mission Office; they appealed to local Baptist Churches offering scholarships to students wishing to go into the field of midwifery and/or trained midwives willing to come out to a village setting and work at our clinic. When these appeals did not yield results, an appeal was written to the local Ministry of Health for a staff midwife. Nothing seemed to help us resolve our situation. That room was not used for its attended purpose for 19 years. Then, “out of the blue”, our local Ministry of Health office informed us that they were assigning a staff midwife to our facility. We began cleaning the labor room, small bathroom, and the delivery room for our midwife’s arrival. We added an exam table to be used as a delivery table, other furniture, and equipment and linens. It was a special day when the midwife arrived to take up her post. It was not long before we delivered our first baby in that room and many other deliveries have followed. A safe delivery with a healthy mother and baby is our goal. Having a midwife on staff enabled us to expand our prenatal care and health teaching as well. Praise the Lord!