Queen of Sheba Health Services operates in Gushegu Municipality, one of the districts in the Northern Region of Ghana. The capital, also called Gushegu, is centrally located within the district. It is mainly surrounded by small villages.
The entire district has an estimated population of 140,000, 40,000 of which live in the capital city. Many roads in the district are unpaved and quite a number of them become impassable in the rainy season.
Every six days it’s market day in Gushegu. Many people from out of town travel to the capital on that day to shop for groceries or sell produce or goods. The city is always a hive of activity on those days!
The Gushegu Municipality is home to people of various ethnicities. The majority are Dagomba and the area traditionally falls under the rule of the king of the Dagomba, the Yaa-Naa. Furthermore, the district has a fair percentage of Konkomba, and the Fulbe or Fulani form an important minority group.
The Dagombas earn a living mainly from agriculture. They grow crops like maize, soybeans, yam, cassava and peanuts. They keep sheep and goats for meat, not for milk. Chickens and guinea fowl roam around every house, kept for their eggs and for meat.
A family home often consists of multiple smaller houses, build around a central courtyard. The men often have more than one wife. On average, women give birth to six children. The majority of the Dagomba are Muslim.
Konkombas too are mainly farmers and live off the land. Their households closely resemble those of the Dagomba, with one exception: the Konkomba also keep pigs. This has to do with religion: the majority either follow a traditional religion or are Christian.
The Fulbe or Fulani form one of the largest ethnic groups in Western and Central Africa. They are semi-nomadic, making a living as cow herders or traders. They often live in grass huts on the outskirts of a village so they can easily drive their cows out into the wilderness in search of grass and water. They make a living selling milk and cheese or by selling their cows. They do eat meat, but never from their own animals. Virtually all Fulbe are muslim.
In general, the women take care of the children and everything that needs to be done in and around the house. They clean, wash and cook, fetch water, collect firewood and work on the fields.
Having children is considered important to both men and women because they can take care of their parents in their old age. As not all children reach adulthood or have the mental or physical ability to do well in school or work the land, it is also considered important to have a large family. So in the Gushegu district there are always a lot of children playing around the houses and on the streets.
Our vision is to support families by providing good quality healthcare to (expectant) mothers so they can take care of their children, watch them grow up in good health, develop their skills and, eventually, improve their living conditions.