Today can report that residents of Agorde in the Akatsi-South District of the Volta region are living under very terrible conditions which portend grave danger to their lives.
A recent visit to Agorde by a combined team of Amansan Television (ATV) and Today indicated that the area lacked basic social amenities including schools, electricity, roads and a clinic.
Our news team gathered that the situation was more precarious for pupils and students in the area who on a daily basis (from Monday-Friday) have to cover a distance of about 30 kilometres to their various schools.
This was due to the fact that the only access route for the pupils to go to school was to cross a river (River Tordze) which serves as a barrier between Agorde, and its adjourning towns including Tsavanya and Torve, where the schools are located.
The situation, we gathered, had been compounded by the fact that there was no footbridge on the river.
Unfortunately, the only platoon which used to ferry school pupils and residents from Agorde to Tsavanya and Torve had also broken down. That has been so for the past nine months.
According to residents in the area, strenuous efforts to get the authorities to repair the broken platoon had failed.
And that development compels pupils to climb trees around the river to their various schools with all its attendant risks.
Interestingly, those who cannot climb the tress to cross the river swim, whilst others use silver pans.
The practice was that they usually swim in their house dress and then after getting to the other side of the river change back into their school uniforms.
This, our team gathered, accounted for persistent absenteeism and truancy in the few schools in the area.
It was also established that pupils spent about three hours to get to their various schools.
Our team discovered that there was not a single Junior High School (JHS) in Agorde which pupils after completion of primary education, were able to enroll to further their education at the JHS level.
And that was as a result of the long distance to schools at Tsavanya and Torve.
What is more, our team learnt that the lack of a clinic in the area saw sick patients being carried in what looked like a wooden armchair to Akatsi which had a health facility.
Speaking to the Chief of Agorde, Togbe Azi II, he confirmed that indeed residents of the area were really reeling under frightening situations.
According to him, it is true that school pupils in the area use rubber pans to cross the river to their various schools in the nearby villages.
He continued that when they get to where the river is they remove their school uniforms and put them inside the pans to prevent them from getting wet.
He continued that the individual pupils then hold the rubber pans firmly and swim to the other end of the river while they wait for some minutes to get their bodies dried up before changing into their school uniforms.
“…and the danger is that if you are not a good swimmer you can get drowned or sometimes if you are not lucky you can be bitten by dangerous animals in the river,” he lamented sorrowfully.
He added that those who cannot swim have to make use of the trees planted along the river banks using tree-swinging leaps like monkeys to avoid swimming the river.
Consequently, Togbe Azi II noted that this worrying situation has affected the education of many school pupils in the area as they always get to school looking tired and worn out.
The unfortunate aspect all this, he said, was the fact that pupils in his area would have to complete the Ghana Education Service (GES) syllabus and subsequently write the same examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
“This is how the future of these children is being toyed with by the leaders of this county and the earlier the powers-that-be do something about it the better…” he charged.
Apart from these challenges school pupils in the area go through, Togbe Azi II decried the poor nature of their roads and the lack of basic social amenities.
He pointed out that there was also no clinic in the area where people could access healthcare when they are taken ill.
“…And not only that, transportation was also a serious issue here as owners of commercial vehicles in Akatsi have warned their drivers not to ply our roads because of their deplorable conditions,” the chief of Agorde stated.
That worrying situation, Togbe Azii affirmed, has resulted in the loss of many lives in the area, especially pregnant women, as they always have to struggle to get the sick to Akatsi-South District in a wooden palanquin which is usually carried by old men in the area.
“This wooden palanquin is our only means of transport which we use to carry sick persons to Akatsi for treatment anytime somebody is sick,” he revealed to Today.
Incidentally, earlier, when our investigative team got to the village, they saw a 7-year-old sick boy being carried in that said palanquin by four (4) men heading towards Akatsi.
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