Nov 17, 2023
Who could have imagined that just a phone call would end up transforming the life of an entire family at Gbegbeyise, a densely populated community situated under Shaibu-Gbegbeyise district in the Ablekuma West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana?.
Indeed, it came as a shock to me from the onset, but then, in the end, the unimaginable became obvious.
Yes, certainly this was a dream that came true, only made possible through the power of journalism utilized by an agent of change.
So how did this happen?
It all started on the fateful day of July 8, 2023, after a day’s hard work, while I was on my way back from work.
All of a sudden, my mobile phone started ringing, and when I checked, it was an incoming call from a colleague news editor responsible for managing one of the major online news portals in Ghana and beyond.
Roger has never contacted me for quite a while. What could have prompted him to initiate such a call at this time? I kept wondering to myself.
Eager and curious to hear him out, I quickly answered his call, and to my surprise, he alerted me that he earlier got a call from an official from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources who is urgently looking for me to answer a few questions regarding a recent report I’ve authored on WASH, which had received a massive publication on various major online news portals.
He then sought my permission to go ahead and share with him my contact information so he could give me a call and speak directly to me about the news report.
For a short moment, I was a bit hesitant not knowing what to do simply because first, I wasn’t sure about the particular story he was talking about, secondly, I was scared that perhaps one of my stories might have gone bad and I’m now being sought for to be haunted as any journalist would feel but upon second thoughts, I gave my consent.
Then, two hours later, my mobile phone starts buzzing to my surprise with an unknown caller on the line. At that time, I had already reached home and was just relaxing on a sofa to cool off.
The unidentified caller identified himself to me right away as a representative of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, specifically working with the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project.
According to him, he is only contacting me in regards to a media report I filed on June 23, 2023, titled "Living without a toilet at home: The traumatic tale of a 15-year-old typhoid fever patient."
This is a report that highlights the predicament of a 15-year-old girl who contracted typhoid fever as a result of living in a community lacking proper sanitation facilities, including a toilet facility at home.
He clarified that his outfit is indeed touched by the plight of the teenager and her family and would like to help them by building a toilet facility in their home to ease their burden.
He then asked for my assistance to help him locate the juvenile’s house so he can get to visit, see and talk to her including her parents after which his outfit would properly arrange to help provide a toilet facility for them.
At this juncture, I got overwhelmed with an excitement upon hearing him out knowing very well my story has made an impact in someone’s life once more again.
Now, prior to filing this report, I was fortunate to have been empowered by the Centre for Science and Health Communication (CSHC) with the support of its funding partner, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and others to have my capacity built on infectious diseases reporting among over 30 Ghanaian journalists who were selected and subsequently trained on May 17, 2023.
The aim of the workshop is to ensure that the knowledge and skills of Ghanaian science and health journalists are effectively honed to be better positioned to vigorously produce stories and enlighten the public on infectious diseases.
Aside from capacity building, each and every participant, including myself, was provided with funding support and tasked with producing a story on infectious disease to educate the public.
It is this kind of support I received from the CSHC and partners that inspired me to produce such a touching story that sheds light on the plight of the 15-year-old adolescent who later escaped from the clutches of typhoid fever.
The long and short of it all is that my story has finally made the desired impact in the lives of not just the 15-year-old girl typhoid victim but her entire family.
Thankfully, through the swift intervention of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Sanitation and Water Project (SWP) under the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.
To sum it all up, you might find it interesting to know that, of the more than thirty journalists nationwide who were chosen for the training and subsequently provided with the means to produce stories for the general public on infectious diseases, I was the most fortunate to have my story have a lasting effect on the lives of an entire family at Gbegbeyise.
My special thanks are extended to the Center for Science and Health Communication (CSHC), the University of Ghana's School of Communication Studies, and partners.
Additionally, to Ing. George Asiedu, the GAMA Project Coordinator from Ghana's Ministry of Sanitation, and Mr. Francis Avuletey, Headmaster of UPCO's Kiddy's Garden School at Gbegbeyise.
Watch a thrilling documentary on the impact made by my story in the life of the teenager and her entire family.