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Founding and history of WGH

The West Gonja Hospital was founded from a clinic in 1951 under the Colonial Government of the Great Britain.

The clinic was established to provide health services to workers of the Gonja Development Company who were engaged in the cultivation of groundnuts following a pilot scheme of Thirty Thousand (30,000) acres of the crop in 1949.

Father Gabriel Champagne, M.Afr, visited the group regularly and celebrated the Holy Eucharist with the Catholics from time to time. Later Father Champagne received help from the Fathers at St Victor’s Major Seminary who visited “the jungle” (the name given to Damongo by the GDC staff from Europe) for Mass from time to time. Damongo soon became an outstation of Tamale.  Priests visited the Christian community fortnightly from Tamale. Also, priests travelling to or from Wa did stay overnight at the bungalow and celebrated Mass the following morning.

It became clear later that the GDC would have to fold up and most of its colonial workers return to the United Kingdom. This prompted the Managing Director, Mr. Panton to approach Father Gabriel Champagne to request the Church to take over the running of the clinic the company had built in 1951 for its workers. 

Father Champagne consulted Father Thomas Tryers and they both agreed it was a good idea for the church to take over the management of the clinic. A congregation of Sisters was required for this apostolate.

An advert was therefore published in one of the Catholic newspapers in Liverpool by Fr. Thomas Tryers to attract a religious congregation to Damongo. Fortunately, the then Superior General of the Saint Anne Sisters, Mother Agnes, identified the opportunity as a call to serve the Lord for which she responded positively to it. She embraced this new mission and described it as “a great adventure of faith”. The Sisters of Saint Anne was then a small Congregation of fifty-four (54) sisters with Wimbledon, London, as their headquarters (Mother House). 

Subsequently, three Sisters of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Anne (SSA) arrived in Damongo in January, 1955, to commence work. On 18th April, 1955, the hospital was officially opened.

The St. Anne’s Sisters managed the hospital from 1955 to 1974 during which there was expansion on infrastructure and the scope and quality of health services at the facility.

The St. Anne’s Sisters handed over the leadership baton to the Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSPS) congregation in 1974. The SSPS congregation also handed over leadership to the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, SMI, who managed the hospital from June 1999 to date and on behalf of the Bishop of the Diocese.

Since 1955, the hospital has been experiencing steady progress and development in both infrastructural expansion and service provision. Currently, it is an agency hospital with a bed complement of One Hundred (100). Expansion of the infrastructure and service provision could have taken a broader dimension than it is now, if rapid development had set in with a considerable reduction of poverty in the area within which the hospital operates.

Currently, the hospital operates with a staff strength of 260 out of which 47 (constituting 18% of the staff) are on contract and awaiting financial clearance for mechanisation on government payroll.

See more: Current services