Profile- Savannah Region

The Savannah Region is one of the two regions carved out of the Northern Region in 2019. The region is approximately, 35,853 sq Km and the largest in the country covering about 15% of the total area of Ghana and has Damongo as the regional capital. Locally, the region shares boundary with Upper West, North East, and Northern Regions to the North; Oti Region to the East; Bono East Region to the South; and Ahafo Region to the West. Internationally, the region shares boundary with La Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to the West. The region is divided into Seven administrative districts of which two are municipalities with each district further divided into 35 health subdistricts. Each district has a District Chief Executive serving as the political head.

The projected population for the year 2020 stood at 625,299; 51% females and 49% males with an annual growth rate of 2.8% and with a population density of 17 per square kilometer. The population is characteristically distributed in small settlements with populations of 200 – 500 people. There are over 1,250 settlements in the Region, out of which about 17% have population less than 200 people. The distances between settlements are far apart. This peculiar pattern of distribution of population in the region has adverse implication for service delivery, as sub-district health teams (SDHTs) going on out-reach services travel long distances only to reach a small proportion of their target population.

Socio-cultural and religious norms in the settlements of the region vest most authority in the hands of chiefs, religious leaders and clan heads that are mostly male.  The system of inheritance is patrilineal thus making women more dependent on men for resources. Women are therefore disadvantaged in terms of access to education, health, and other social amenities in relation to men though they face the same levels of poverty. The females comprise 51% of the population and 49% are male.

The White volta and Black volta are the two major rivers running through the region with numerous streams feeding into these rivers. Most of these streams dry up after the rainy season making it difficult for the inhabitants to have access to water for their activities.

The vegetation is savanna grassland which is low lying.  The region is characterized by two climatic seasons namely; rainy season which spans through the period of May to October and the dry season spanning from December to March when the northeast trade winds/harmattan are most prominent.

Poverty is high and widespread and many cannot afford the cost of basic health services. Agriculture is the predominant sector, with over 90% of the productive age group being peasant farmers.  Mechanized agriculture is possible on this terrain although limited in practice because of the high cost of inputs. However, the peasant farmer produces the bulk of the cereals, tubers and groundnuts in the region.  Sheanut is the most important cash crop in the region.

With the thriving mobile telephony in Ghana, all the district capitals in the region have access to telecommunication network though some communities consistently record poor or no reception with the major telcos serving the region being Airteltigo, MTN, and Vodafone which vary in network strength based on location.

The state of the roads in the Region is generally bad. The only stretch that is tarred is the Buipe-Damango-Bole stretch, a distance of about 208 km. Most roads are not motorable in the rainy season thus hampering health service delivery. Bicycles, motorbikes and four-wheel drives are therefore more effective for activities in the region.   The region is among those with the lowest school enrolment rate, highest dropout rate and highest illiteracy rates in the country.