Mission to Ghana a Resounding Success

School children at the Cloverfield school in GhanaRobert Brown, Founder and Chairman of International BookSmart Foundation led a women’s health and education delegation to Ghana, West Africa in February 2010. The purpose of the trip was multi-dimensional: 1) to assess the additional book needs of schools in Ghana; 2) review progress being made on the Zeta Phi Beta sponsored Z-Hope Infirmary and Health Center located on the campus of Afua Kobi Ampen Girl’s High School and 3) to interact with local government officials and dignitaries.

The group left the United States on February 3 and arrived in Accra, Ghana on February 4 to a
VIP welcome hosted by Dr. Ebenezer Moses Debrah, a career diplomat and former Ambassador of Ghana to the United Nations and to the United States of America and his daughter Nana Fuso Randall, Official UN Representative of the UN Sustainable Development Commission, the President of the Voices of African Mothers and the Protocol Liaison of the Airport. Dr. Debrah, a friend and colleague of Robert Brown, welcomed the group on behalf of the Honorable Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the President of the Republic of Ghana.

In her absence, Dr. Maya Angelou, poet laureate of the United States and honorary citizen of Ghana, asked her nephew Mr. Ted Bernasko and his daughter Rosetta to convey her warmest welcome and to make the group feel at home.

The delegation included Robert Brown, Chair and Founder of B&C Associates and International BookSmart Foundation and Denise James Gatling, Director Global Supplier Diversity & Business Development - GlaxoSmithKline, Sheryl Underwood, International President - Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. (ZPB), Mary Singletary, Chair-Zeta Phi Beta International Women of Color and President-National Council of Women of the United States; Nyssa Green, President-The Green Room Agency and Phanalphie Rhue Still, Senior Vice President for B&C Associates.

Ghanaian Minister of Education Meeting
The Minister Alex Narh Tettey-Enyo was very pleased with the humanitarian efforts of International BookSmart Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and welcomed their support of children and education in Ghana. They welcomed shipments of books and gladly partnered in handling the receiving, storing and distribution of books shipped, as part of a relationship with the Mission Team. The Minister says that there is a need for materials that support the pre-school area (3-6 years of age), but he added that there are many needs such as furniture, computers and science equipment.

Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Health Meeting
The meeting with the Deputy Minister of Health reaffirmed some of the focus areas identified by Underwood and the Zeta ZHope Stork’s Nest initiative, that being the need for pre-natal care and education. According to Minister Anemana there is a need for more skilled midwife care and education. He stated that many infants die within one month of birth because mothers do not breast feed, protecting the infants from contaminated water. An aggressive “Breast Feeding Campaign” could save many infant lives. He added that they need more teaching aids to train more midwives so that more counties and towns have access to skilled delivery services. Any effort that supports the work of the health workers would be appreciated.

He also added that the other main causes of death in Ghana are malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. They are using a number of preventive methods but they need one more antigen to be added to their immunization cocktail to address bacterial pneumonia. Right now they have an 85% vaccine rate, which is outstanding. Malnutrition impacts the people, in addition to other challenges they face.

On amazing fact is that Ghana has National Health Insurance. Everyone, up to the age of 18 years can receive free care. Current registrations for the insurance are only at 67%. Mr. Anemana attributes this to the faith the people put in tribal medicine.

Lastly, he added, safe water is of vital importance.