NEWMONT Gold Ghana Limited(NGGL), operators of the Ahafo Mine in the Brong Ahafo Region, has pledged to attach importance to the safety of its workforce and the communities within which it work.
To demonstrate this, the company in collaboration with the Asutifi and Tano North district directorates of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has trained 60 community health volunteers as peer educators on sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
To ensure the success of the community health project, NGGL has presented the community-based volunteers selected from all the 33 communities in both Asutifi and Tano North districts with certificates, bicycles, wellington boots, torch lights, and other working tools to facilitate their work and also as recognition for their hard work.
Speaking at one of the presentation and recognition ceremonies at Ntotroso in the Asutifi District, Mr Joseph Danso, Community Development Superintendent of the company said the project further demonstrated the company’s commitment to its social responsibility.
The recognition durbar, he said, was also to create awareness and to educate community members on HIV/AIDS prevention.
Mr Danso disclosed that since the training of the community volunteers in August, last year, they had been able to organise 350 group discussions with community members, 670 one-on-one sessions and reached out to 1,847 females and 1773 males, as well as directed 72 sexually transmitted infection cases to the various health centres.
Mr Danso stated that for effective collaboration and the sustainability of the programme, health personnel had been included to serve as supervisors of the volunteers’ activities, collect data and supervise their outreach exercises.
The Asutifi District Coordinating Director, Mr Kwaku Gyimah, commended NGGL for initiating the project.
He noted that the HIV/AIDS situation in the Asutifi district was still precarious and disclosed that out of the 430 people who went for HIV/AIDS voluntary testing in 2007, 47 tested positive, representing 11 per cent while in 2008 out of the 701 people who went for testing, 115 tested positive, representing 16.4 per cent.
“These figures are very alarming and scary. This reveals the extent and nature of the situation we are facing as a district. This is no child’s play,” he stressed.
Mr Gyimah therefore called on all stakeholders, especially traditional rulers, religious organisations, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations to lead the crusade against the spread of the deadly disease in the district.