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History of the Saboba Medical Centre

Saboba, Gold Coast
October 27, 2010 by John Goodwin!/group.php?gid=322352053315

In early 1945, my father (H. T. Goodwin) made a trip into Konkomba land to call on the converts from his previous trips. By now he was driving a U. S. military surplus jeep obtained from the U.S. Air Force Base in Accra, Ghana. When he arrived in Saboba, he went directly to the Chief’s compound where he always stayed. He was informed of the presence of a young British Colonial officer who had come to stay and was building a residence near by. The next morning as my father was leaving Saboba to continue on to Bawku, he stopped to pay his respects. The young officer informed him that it would be his last trip to Saboba. Shocked, he asked why. The officer told him he had decided that the Komkombas were still in a primitive, indigenous state and were to be preserved as an undisturbed anthropological exhibit. Therefore, no missionaries or any other outside influence would be allowed in. One Saturday afternoon not long after that, my father was walking along the beach in Accra when a British gentleman fell into step with him and they began to visit. As they did so, the gentleman expressed interest and began to ask questions about his work in the Gold Coast. Because the Saboba incident was fresh and disturbing to him, he related the details. As they said their goodbyes, he asked my father to come see him in his office. When asked where that was, he said that he was the secretary to the Governor of the Colony. When my father arrived at the governor’s office the next week, the secretary had already discussed the situation with him and he had just one question: ―Can you promise to establish a Health Post in Saboba and bring nurses in to minister to the physical needs of the Konkomba people? Of course my father’s reply was yes. He immediately sent urgent messages to his mission agency for missionary nurses to be recruited, then went to the commanding officer at the U. S. Air Base in Accra and requested supplies and equipment. Because the base was closing, the equipment he requested was quickly given, along with Quonset huts (movable buildings used by the military) to be used as the initial clinic buildings. The governor’s offer included the house that the young British officer was building for himself. It was to be used as the missionary nurses’ residence. As the Mission truck approached Saboba with the supplies, equipment and household furniture, the truck carrying the belongings of the young officer had to move off the road to let them by. He had slept in his new house only one night.

The McNutt Family was privileged as the first to live in that house.

The McNutts in 1948.
Front:  Gayle,
Second row  l-r: Mel, Marita F.
Third row l-r: David, Marita J.,  Dennis

The medical center began in 1949 as a mother/child clinic, commissioned by the Foreign Missions Department of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Mo. The first building was built by Melvin Mc Nutt.  The Mc Nutts were the first white family to live in Saboba.

The hospital grew over the years under the leadership of  the following staff:
Mel and Marita Mc Nutt                                1948- May 1949
Ruby Johnson                                               1949-1953  
Ozella Reid                                                         1949-1953       
Ann Symonds , RN                                           1953-1954   
Becky Davison, RN                                          1953-1954        
Naomi, RN, Dewey Hale                                1953-1955
Helen Kopp , RN                                               1954- Jan 1957
Charlese Spencer , RN                                    1954- Oct 1954- Oct 1957   
Ruby Johnson, RN                                            1957-1973
Penny Scott, RN                                                 1958-1961
Eloise Smith, RN                                               1958-1977
Ann Symonds, RN                                             1960-1977
Becky Davison, RN                                           1960-1977
Charlese Spencer, RN                                      1967-1971
Ann Fisher, RN                                                    1968-1971
Jean Webster, RN                                               1975-1978
Jeanette Boteler , RN                                         1978
SMC was  closed                                                 1978 -1981       
John Goodwin                                                      1981-1993
Joseph Wumbee                                                  1981- present
Sam Dunyo, MD   First Doctor                         1991
Jean Young, MD                                                   1992-1996
Charles Talan, R.N.                                              1992-1996
Mercy Obeng, RN                                                1994-2004
Gert Blauw, MD and  Gerda Blauw  RN         1996-2001
Stephen Ogbordjor, MD                                     1997
Heinrich Blum , MD                                           2001-2002
Jean Young, MD                                                   2004- Present
Lord Conrad M.A.                                                  2008

From its humble beginnings The Saboba Medical Centre  has  become a significant  medical institution  and is now the Regional District hospital for  the Saboba - Cheriponi region  of Northern Ghana. It has grown to a sixty  bed hospital, a Primary Health Care Clinic, an Out patient Clinic, a laboratory, and a pharmacy.

1949 First Clinic
A World War II surplus  building donated to the Assemblies of God. Built by Leonard McNutt.

Saboba 1949 Mrs. Mc Nutt with a patient.  

Some of the very first patients treated at the Clinic. These ulcers were caused by Yaws

The Regional doctor gave Mrs. Mc Nutt directions as to how to treat the wounds. She also treated patients during the spinal meningitis epidemic in  1948. Marita Joy, age 12, helped prepare the detol solution for cleaning the wounds.  

1948 Saboba Market Merchant

1948  Mrs. McNutt at the Saboba Market  buying meat.