Consistent with its commitment to making life better for the communities in which it operates, the West African Gas Pipeline Company Ltd (WAPCo) in collaboration with eye specialists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has organized free eye care services for close to 2000 members from seven host communities in Ghana, namely Kpone and Tema Manhean in the Greater Accra Region, and Inchaban, Aboadze, Abuesi, Dwomo and Shama, all in the Shama district of Ghana’s Western region.
The heavily patronized exercise involved throngs of people of all ages who were screened for eye-related infections including myopia, presbyopia, glaucoma and many others. Prior to the screening, the residents were first counseled by the specialists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on ways to prevent different ophthalmic conditions. Where needed, medication and reading glasses were provided at no cost to the beneficiaries.
Interacting with the media on why the outreach was organized, the External Relations Manager of WAPCo, Mark Kofi Mensah, explained that eye care was identified as a critical intervention following consultations with the communities. The absence of specialized facilities in those communities was a major determining factor. “As a socially responsible company, we try to give back to the community”, he said.
Health is one of four key areas of intervention that WAPCo identified with host communities through a participatory needs assessment. The other areas are water and sanitation, education, and income generation.
Other social investments in Ghana
This health outreach is one of several impactful investments WAPCo has made in its host communities in Ghana. Over the years, WAPCo has invested heavily in brick and mortar projects and other value-adding initiatives in those communities. “Already, we have had other social investments including a fully-equipped maternity ward in Tema that is functioning, aside from the scholarship scheme”, Mr. Mensah stated
The company has so far invested over $800,000 in brick and mortar projects in Ghana. It has also spent in excess of $400,000 thus far, on providing scholarships for 158 students, and vocational and skills acquisition training for 108 youth in technical and vocational schools in the country. The beneficiaries are all from the company’s host communities in Ghana.
Thanks to this outreach, many residents in the seven communities covered, now know whether or not they have eye problems, and whether something can be done about the problem. Those with treatable conditions received immediate care and, where required, appropriate glasses, all free of charge to them. Others with more serious conditions were counseled and duly referred to specialist health centers. By eliminating the cost barrier to most residents in these predominantly fishing communities, WAPCo has contributed in no small way to preserving the eyesight of many and raising awareness of the need for eye care.