The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has indicated that national development does not rest on government alone, but as a collective effort.
She said companies should therefore care about the well-being of the communities within which they operate.
The first lady made the observation when she commissioned the Abosso community library and Huni-Valley health centre in the Prestea Hun-Valley constituency of the Western Region.
The projects were funded from the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation instituted by the Gold Fields group of companies in Ghana with the commitment to contribute towards socio-economic and development of its stakeholder communities.
The First Lady said “I am aware that many companies, including Gold Fields, continue to make significant contributions towards our national development, l urged them to do more”.
She noted that considering the thousands of residents, who visit the Huni-Valley health centre, it was appropriate for it to be upgraded and equipped with modern facilities to enable the citizenry have access to quality healthcare.
The first lady said while corporate social responsibility helped to improve an organization’s image with a social license to operate, it also enhanced the livelihoods of their host communities.
Apart from the Huni-Valley health centre, Mrs Akufo-Addo said Gold Fields constructed a clinic and Nurses’ quarters for New Atuabo, maternity block and quarters for Tarkwa government hospital, Huniso community clinic as well as the provision of medical equipment for Awudua health centre.
She said Gold Fields’ commitment to improving health care and maternal care in host communities was admirable and praised the mining giant for being a pacesetter in high-impact projects and sustainable development of host communities.
Touching on the Rebecca Foundation, which was founded by her to address critical issues across the country, she explained that “in two years, the Rebecca Foundation has impacted so many lives across the country through projects, such as the construction of the Mother and Baby Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital in Kumasi, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Korle-Bu Teaching hospital and many others”.
She added that through the Foundation’s learning to read, reading to learn initiative, they have constructed libraries in the Western North, Central, Bono and Upper West Regions, stressed that the foundation would continue to spread their wings wide to enable them cover many areas in country.
“As the corporate social responsibility focus of Gold Fields aligns with that of the Rebecca Foundation, l believe there is an opportunity for partnership to address key issues on health, education and economic empowerment for women of Prestea Huni-Valley and Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipalities. The Rebecca Foundation, therefore, looks forward to this partnership opportunity with Gold Fields”, she emphasized.
Mrs Akufo-Addo through her Foundation donated medical consumables to the Huni-Valley health centre and promised to present an ambulance to the health facility to enhance service delivery.
Mr Alfred Baku, Executive Vice President and Head of Gold Fields West Africa, said the Aboso library has been stocked with books and 10 computers with accessories were connected to the internet to help students conduct research online.
He said their ultimate aim was to support children in their operational communities to be internet-savvy and connect with modern developments.
The Huni-Valley health centre, which had only six beds were upgraded to a 26-bed facility with child healthcare centre and two consulting rooms for doctors, Mr Baku explained.
Mr Baku said “In Gold Fields, we say our employee’s health is our wealth and same goes for our host communities. We value the health of our host community members and will continue to pump investments into this area”.
The Executive Vice President announced that they have set up management committees made up of community leaders, Prestea Huni-Valley Municipal Health and Education Directorates, medical officers, teachers, assembly members and officials of Damang Mines to oversee management of the two projects.
He commended the committees for initiating strategies to ensure that the facilities were well maintained, to derive maximum benefits for their host communities.
Mr Baku also lauded the health directorate for giving the old maternity block a facelift and stressed that the directorate was able to achieve this with support from the clinic management committee.