Saboba, Gold Coast
October 27, 2010 by John Goodwin
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.
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.