Missions

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations

Matthew 28:19

First Presbyterian embarked on its first international mission trip in August 2014. Having financially supported a medical outreach effort and an orphanage in Ghana, several members of our church traveled went to become more personally aware of the situation and the need.
Since 2014 we have been building friendships with several ministries and churches in Ghana, especially around support for women and children.
We have been working with our PCUSA missionary, Rev. Josh Heikkila, to form a strong partnership with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana (EPC) in the eastern Volta region. In August 2017 we sent a team of teens and adults to Ghana to continue to build those friendships and partnerships. FPC is now spearheading a campaign to raise funds for a desperately needed MATERNITY WARD near the city of Ho. 
First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield (FPC) is spearheading a campaign to build a much-needed maternity ward in Ghana. We sensed in 2015 that God was calling us to come alongside our brothers and sisters there to address unmet maternity needs in the Volta Region. The EPC already has programs that support homeless children, farmers, fisherman, and people in need of healthcare, but the needs are far greater than their resources.
EPC leaders identified the great need for a maternity ward at their Dzemeni Medical Clinic. Dzemeni is a rural fishing town on Lake Volta, and people travel great distances to go to its market. While there, they take advantage of the medical clinic services, including basic screening and medical care. Anyone in need of care receives it. Currently, three or four births occur there every day, and all mothers and babies share one very small recovery room. EPC believes the number of births will double when the larger and better-equipped birthing facility opens.
Construction is nearly complete! We invite you to help us complete funding raising for construction materials and labor. At the same time, we have launched our efforts to raise funds to equip the building and train staff. We have a safe process for handling donations, using the EPC’s established account at PCUSA, which receives donations, disburses funds, and requires reporting that demonstrates proper use of funds.
This maternity ward is an exciting opportunity to invest in people! By helping our brothers and sisters in Ghana meet the needs in their community, it’s family helping family. When you "invest" in the maternity ward, the "returns" will go on for decades to come. When you help one woman, you help ten people, because her impact is so essential to the family and community. Partner with us today with your tangible expression of care. Click the gold DONATE button to make your contribution (instructions below button).
 Questions? Call FPC's office at 203-374-6176 or email GMWP Chair, Patti Picardi, pattipicardi705@gmail.com.
Thanks for your support!

FAQ's Ghana Maternity Ward Partnership

Where is Ghana?

Ghana is in West Africa, on the Atlantic coast between Ivory Coast and Togo. It is a 10hour flight from New York to Accra, Ghana’s capital. English is spoken throughout the country. In 1957 Ghana was the first African country to regain its independence, and today enjoys greater stability and safety than other countries in the region.

Why is FPC building a coalition to fund a maternity ward in Ghana?

On our church’s second trip to Ghana, we spent significant time in Ho with EPC leaders, learning about their ministries and listening to their concerns for their community. One of their outreaches is the Dzemeni clinic and, when we asked which of their projects they need help with, they immediately shared their concern to improve health services with a separate maternity ward. The project is larger than FPC’s resources, so we seek partners to help build this maternity ward together.

Where is the Dzemeni Medical Clinic and who runs it?

The Clinic is located west of Ho and east of Lake Volta. Dzemeni Medical Clinic (pronounced “Jemeny") is run by the EPC and provides essential health services to the region. It was created in 1992 on land donated by the chiefs and people of the community. Funds for construction came from the local church, Presbyterian Answer to Hunger in Germany, and Friends from the Nebraska Conference. The government pays about 45% of staff salaries and the rest is paid from funds generated by the Clinic. Dzemeni Clinic is the second largest facility in the district.

What are the demographics and health issues of the people served by the clinic?

Dzemeni has a population of about 47,000 inhabitants, with more than half being women. About 80% of the population is Christian, 4% Muslim, 4% traditionalist, and about 12% do not belong to any religion. About half are farmers and the rest are teachers, health workers, and local government workers. The clinic provides primary and secondary health care for conditions such as malaria, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and skin infections.

Why is a maternity ward necessary?

A 2010 survey records that 45 infants and 66 children under five die annually, and suggests that a well-equipped maternity ward at Dzemeni can save 10 infants and 15 small children every year. The EPC expects the number of deliveries to double with a wellequipped maternity ward. Currently, new mothers’ and babies’ health is compromised as they recuperate together in one cramped room; some expectant mothers request transfers to larger facilities when their delivery draws near. Specialists do not visit because of inadequate facilities. A maternity ward will allow staff to save more lives, care more effectively for mothers and babies, and encourage specialists to offer their expertise.

What are the most common maternity complications seen at the clinic, and how well are they able to respond?

The most common complications are retained placenta, bleeding, and malaria during pregnancy. Currently, the Dzemeni facility is not equipped to deal with these situations because of the lack of specialists and equipment; it must refer expectant mothers to a larger facility 90 minutes away.

How can we be confident that our funds are going to the maternity ward?

Our denomination has an experienced missionary to Ghana, Rev. Josh Heikkila. Josh lives in Accra and, for the last two years, has been advising us and traveling with us to help us understand how best to partner with our brothers and sisters in Ghana. Josh knows the EPC leaders well and is well-respected among his colleagues. He has helped many American churches build partnerships such as ours, and knows how to use the denomination’s tools to ensure that funds raised here will be used there as specified and proper reporting will be done on a regular basis.

Why should we help fund a maternity ward in Africa?

We have an opportunity to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Ghana so that they can serve their community for decades to come. How often do we learn of vetted ministries that are functioning well and just want to expand, where we can impact generations, all in the name of Jesus Christ? If that were not enough reason to support this project, imagine how this medical clinic and new maternity ward could become a focus for future church mission trips, where you can build friendships in Ghana, help at the clinic, and become a advocate for those without a voice. Join us in this partnership! Please contact us for more information from below.

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