I was about to retire to bed on a quiet Monday, late on the night of 1st July, 2019 when I got a call from the Damongo Correspondent of Bole based Nkilgi 103.7 Fm.
The voice of Zion Abdul-Rauf seemed to crack under the weight of hopeless desperation.
He said; “There is a problem General Manager and we need to act fast!”. We need to do whatever we can to save the life of a thirteen-year old pupil of Tailorpe Primary School in the West Gonja District of Savannah Region called Tahiru Aisha. She had been bitten by a snake while helping her mother to gather shea nuts to support the family income. She faced imminent death, as her mother was too poor to raise the amount of GH¢1,200 required to buy anti-snake venom for the treatment. The young girl has a few hours to live according what I was told”.
I looked at my time and it was 11:40pm. I told Zion Abdul-Rauf that I will put out an urgent appeal for assistance on the Facebook page as well as whatsapp group of Nkilgi Fm and see if a good samaritan will do something before the morning of the following day Tuesday 2nd July, 2019.
Within three minutes a scribbled a distress message asking for support from the general public to help rescue Aisha. I will come back to what happened next.
Little Aisha who is very shy, obedient and respectful lost her father five years earlier, leaving her under the care of her mother who is struggling to make the family’s ends meet.
Aisha and her mother live on income they make from sheanuts, which they pick from the sorrounding bushes and abandoned farmlands in their community, Tailorpe. On most days, the family came home safely from their daily hunt in the wild.
However, on the fateful day, luck ran out for Aisha and she got bitten by a rather poisonous snake. The mother used the last money on her on the day to pay their transport and rushed Aisha to West Gonja District Hospital at Damongo. But alas there was no anti snake medication at the Hospital. The weeping mother had no option than to send her beloved daughter Aisha Tahiru back to their community Tailorpe to ‘die’.
The Headteacher of Aisha’s school, Tailorpe Primary School, Mr Abdul Aziz Shakuru realised the absence of Aisha from school on Monday 1st July, 2019.
Mr Shakuru an experienced trained teacher often visits homes in the community after school to ask why students have absented themselves from school since the school drop-out rate is very hight in the community. On the fateful day the headteacher Mr Shakuru passed by the house of Aisha and was informed she had a snake bite hence could not come to school.
Mr Shakuru decided to go into the room of Aisha’s mother after he was told this story and there lay Aisha wriggling in pain but struggled and got up after seeing the headteacher in their room. A disturbed headteacher Mr Abdul Aziz Shakuru decided to act fast! Time was running out! He took a photo of Aisha and then started placing calls to a few people but assistance was not forthcoming.
He therefore rushed to Damongo and it was the same story. He told a few other teachers around him and they decided that to do contributions so as to send Aisha to Tamale the next day if she was still alive.
Later headteacher Shakuru decided the situation was urgent and so decided to broaden his search for assistance for little Aisha.
Shakuru placed a call to Nkilgi Fm’s correspondent at Damongo Zion Abdul-Rauf deep into the night and vividly explained the situation he had been battling with.
Zion Abdul Rauf did not also waste time in placing a call to the General Manager of Nkilgi Fm Mahama Haruna.
By the following morning after the distress message asking for support from the general public to help rescue Aisha was sent on social media, many people responded.
A former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman for the Damongo constituency of the Savannah Region Nana Kwame Aboagye informed Zion Abdul-Rauf early morning that he had sent a car to evacuate little Aisha back to Damongo shortly after reading the distress message.
Apparently before Nana Kwame’s car will get to Tailorpe Buipewura Abudulai Jinapor, Paramount Chief of the Buipe Traditional Area and Vice- President of the Gonja Traditional Council had also arranged for the little girl to be evacuated to the Damongo Hospital through his son and a Deputy Chief of Staff of Ghana Lawyer Abu Jinapor.
Indeed the vehicle from Buipewura was the first to get to Tailorpe and little Aisha was evacuated to Damongo. Nana Kwame Aboagye’s car got to Tailorpe to meet speeding car getting out of the compound of Aisha’s family.
Buipewura did not end there but quickly arranged for the anti- snake vaccines that wil be administered to little Aisha even before the vehicle got the West Gonja Hospital.
The cost of the vaccines that were bought and administered were borne by Deputy Chief of Staff Samuel Abu Jinapor who also took full responsibility for all expenses of little Aisha at the Hospital.
Other Donations to Tahiru Aisha
As this emergency situation went on, a number of people also stared contributing even before the little girl got to Damongo. Some contributers were;
1. Gonjaland Youth Association- GH¢1,300
2. Hajara Mohammed (Gonja who works with NCCE, Accra)- GH¢ 200
3. Hajia Safia Mohammed (NPP Savannah Regional women’s Organiser)- GH¢50
Other individuals that decided to come to the aid of Aisha were Alhaji Inua formerly of the Ghana Health Service who contacted the Tamale Teaching Hospital pharmacy to make anti-snake venom ready for the little girl should she be transferred to the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
A transport owner (Yagbon Transport) and businessman at Bole Adam Chamogo alao promised to buy the anti- snake serum for the little girl until he was to hold on since the vaccines had already been administered.
Teaching Staff of Damongo Senior High School DASS) immediately mobilised and presented an amount GH¢610 cedis to the snake bite victim Tahiru Aisha.
Speaking to Nkilgi fm, Mr Nsorwura Haruna who was in the company of two other Tutors from the school said they saw the information on their staff WhatsApp platform which touched many of them including the headmaster of the school.
The Tutors quickly mobilised the amount through voluntary contributions started by the headmaster Mr Abu Salia which saw other tutors also contributing.
Mr Nsorwura and his colleagues handed over the amount to the elder sister of little Aisha through Zion Abdul-Rauf, the Damongo correspondent of Bole based Nkilgi FM.
Zion Abdul-Rauf on behalf of Nkilgi FM thanked the staff for their quick response after receiving the information and many others who came to the aid of the girl.
A WhatsApp Group known as Non-Aligned Voters Association of Ghana (NAVAG) also came to the aid of 13-year old Aisha to help pay for her medical treatment. The group made a cash donation of GH¢1,500 through one of its members Mr Mohammed Gausu their contribution in response to the appeal by Bole-based Nkiligi FM, which caught the attention of members of the group.
NAVAG which brings together members all political parties, as well non-partisan professionals was touched by the sad plight of Aisha and quickly put together a subset of the group to pool resources to help.
GH¢3,610 was realised from donations to Tahiru Aisha even though Deputy Chief of Staff Abu Jinapor provided money for the vaccines and other expenditure.
The family of Aisha were so touched by the assistance. Aisha’s teary-eyed sister who was with her at the hospital was short of words to thank everyone.
As General Manager of Nkilgi Fm I rushed to Damongo to have first hand information on the little girl’s situation on 2nd July, 2019 shortly after she was brought to the West Gonja Hospital at Damongo. I met little Aisha responding to treatment at the Hospital with Doctors and Nurses given her maximum attention.
Aisha Tahiru Discharged from Hospital
Aisha Tahiru was discharged from Hospital on 4th July, 2019 after taking the full dosage of her anti- snake serum. She was given other drugs to go home to continue taking to get fully fit.
Aftermath of Aisha’s Discharge from Hospital
Deputy Chief of Staff Samuel Abu Jinapor donated one hundred (100) vials of anti snake Vernom to the West Gonja hospital.
The donation was done on his behalf by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Constituency Secretary for Damongo Mr Karim Kusubari and the NPP Communication Officer for Damongo Constituency Mr Iddrisu Lamin was well as the Aid to the Deputy Chief of Staff Mr Samuel Quaye.
Speaking to Nkilgi handing Fm after handing over the vaccines to the hospital, the NPP Secretary for Damongo constituency Mr Kusubari Karim said the the Deputy Chief of Staff has appealed to the hospital to administer the vaccine to affected persons free of charge irrespective of the political affiliation of the victim.
According to Mr Kusbari, Lawyer Jinapor’s attention was drawn to the absence of the vaccines in the hospital following an appeal for funds launched by Bole based Nkilgi FM yesterday in support for a Primary 5 pupil of the Tailorpe Primary School Tahiru Aisha who was bitten by a snake last Saturday during the process of picking sheanuts with her parents unable to raise GHc1,200 to buy the anti snake vaccines to treat the little girl.
Receiving the drugs on behalf of the West Gonja Hospital, the medical Superintendent of the West Gonja District Hospital Dr Saadare Anlaagmen was full of praise for the Deputy Chief of Staff and thanked him for his intervention especially at this time of the year that the hospital is recording higher cases of snake bites.
Dr Saadare said government supplies to the hospital is always not enough to cater for cases received by the government.
He said patients therefore buy the vaccines from drug stores in the open market with each vaccine costing GH¢ 300 cedis.
Dr Saadare went further to appeal to appeal to Lawyer Jinapor to make more donation of the vaccines to the hospital to help them deal with the situation since the cost of the vaccine is always a problem to the patients.
A total of 50 cases of snake bites was recorded in the West Gonja Hospital with one (1) death case being recorded this year (2019) that is at the time little Aisha was admitted.
The number was expected to rise because the farming and sheanuts picking season was still in progress.
Abu Jinapor promised to make similar donations to hospitals across the Savannah region in the coming days with the Bole Hospital earmarked to receive some of the vaccines first.
Nkilgi Fm visit Little Aisha
Nkilgi Fm visited the snake bite victim Aisha at her Community Tailorpe in the West Gonja District of the Savannah Region on 7th July, 2019 to see how she was fairing. Quite and respectful Aisha was hail, hearty and looking fresh.
But another problem came up. It was clear Tahiru Aisha who lost the father as a kid and her mother (widow) are simply relying on picking of sheanuts to survive.
A rainstorm in their area brought down some of their thatch roofed rooms.
Roofing of a Room at Aisha’s House
As explained earlier, GH¢3,610 was realised from donations to Aisha and out of this GH¢1,110 was advanced to the family at the West Gonja Hospital, Damongo to take care of miscellaneous expenses. The money in the possession of Nkilgi Fm at end was GH¢2,500.
GH¢1,500 of the money left was used to buy zinc to roof one room at Aisha’s compound with rest of the GH¢1,000 used to buy educational materials- a school bag, a uniform and sandals for Aisha.
As a Radio Station we were relieved having made an impact on the live of little Aisha. We made announcements on air and on social media to thank all those who were part of saving Aisha’s life.
Other Social Imapct Stories activities of Nkilgi Fm
Bole based Nkilgi Fm has engaged in many interventions in the lives of people.
A woman from the Singa community in the North Gonja District of the Savannah Region called Madam Atommy Yaw gave birth to quadruplets (2 boys 2 girls) on the 28th April, 2019 at the Singa Community but was referred to the Tamale Teaching Hospital where the chidren were put in an incubator.
The woman and her husband who are peasant farmers were in distress after exhausting all the money on them at the Hospital and with to even eat being problem until Bole based Nkilgi fm was informed.
The money donated to the family by good samaritans was up to GH¢5,000 which solved their problems for the period they were at the hospital and did not leave any debt at the hospital.
Some of the good samaritans that came to their aid included
the DCE for North Gonja Red Bawah; Managing Director of the Ghana Water
Company Dr Braimah Clifford; MP for Daboya Mankarigu Lawyer Shaibu
Obey, NPP Regional Chairman Prof Kalamonia; the
Red Cross Society and others.
Nkilgi Fm went ahead to appeal for assistance in the form of food supplements for the quadruplets after their discharge from hospital.
Nkilgi Fm last year December mobilised an amount of almost GH¢40,000 from individuals for a young man called Salia Seidu Rambo who needed urgent help as a result of a kidney problem resulting in swollen legs, swollen stomach and swollen genitals. Former President John Dramatic Mahama alone contributed GH¢10,000 and so Seidu Salia who was sent to the Tamale Teaching Hospital and later the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital at Kumasi for chemotherapy but unfortunately died in February, 2019.
Three people were cured from life threatening sicknesses as as a result of a similar appeals that made people to contribute to save their lives. One had an vehicle accident at Bole and was referred to the Wenchi Methodist Hospital and Nkilgi Fm mobilised money for his legs to be amputated to save his life. And so on…
By Mahama Haruna
(General Manager, Nkilgi FM- Bole)