AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Limited (AGAG) has rolled out a series of interventions and campaigns in the Obuasi townships as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The mining company has deployed the services of its malaria control subsidiary, AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control (AGAMal) and its hospital, the AGA Health Foundation to lend support to the intervention programmes.

It is to support the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate, Obuasi Municipal and District Assemblies and the Municipal Health Directorate.

More than 20 health facilities together with all the markets in the Obuasi community are being disinfected daily by the company.

With an excellent geodata of the Obuasi community due to the Indoor Residual Spraying for malaria, AGAMal, daily disinfects all the 21 health centres in the Obuasi Municipality and District.

These include the Bryant Mission Hospital, Kunka Community Health Centre and the AGA Health Foundation (AGAHF).

The markets are also disinfected twice a week, which include the Obuasi Central Market, Horsey Park and Tutuka market as part of efforts to disinfect major public places.

Covid-19 education and campaign

The Mine has released its Malaria Control (AGAMal) Communication Vans as part of the massive educational campaign on staying safe and preventing oneself from the Covid-19.

In addition, they have distributed many information materials, mounted billboards and fixed posters, and held radio programs all in effort to propagate prevention messages on Covid-19.

In addition to the disinfection exercise, a massive educational campaign on Covid-19 is ongoing in Obuasi using AGAMal’s information van,

Senior Manager Sustainability, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine, Emmanuel Baidoo, says the intervention is to support the business community within which it operates.

“We are also working very hard with the municipal and district assemblies to step up education in our communities, we have released our malaria control communication vans and is moving all around the obuasi community educating the people.

“Working with municipal assemblies and health directorates, we share our best practices as far as Workplace management is concerned so that they can also learn from and then adopt some of the practices to improve their own interventions.”

Other innovation support initiatives

The AGA Health Foundation has meanwhile trained personnel in the Government Hospital in sample taking who are supporting with taking samples of suspected Covid-19 persons, and sending them for testing.

In addition, the mine has distributed over hundred special buckets fixed with taps and soap dispenser (Veronica buckets) to Obuasi Municipal and Obuasi East District Assemblies to support the handwashing campaign. 

Managing Director for AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Limited, Eric Asubonteng, underscored the need for unity to fight the virus.

“The need to work together as partners is paramount in times like these. The AGA Health Foundation (AGHAF) is therefore working closely with the regional and district health directorate to ensure our preparedness as a community remains ahead of the curve.”

Amid the pandemic, AGAG is driving innovation with their internal production of a hand sanitiser, approved by the Food and Drugs Authority to be prepared in high volume and distributed to employees and the communities.

“Our team has shown that beyond our expertise we can diversify when the need arises; I am happy to announce that AGA staff have developed a hand sanitizer which has been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA). This will soon be prepared in high volumes and shared with the Obuasi community”. Mr.  Asubonteng commented.

Confidence among health professionals

Medical Superintendent at the Obuasi Government Hospital, Dr. Kwadwo Nyarko Jectey, in a brief interview said, the strong collaboration among institutions in Obuasi will help make the interventions effective.

“It has always been very helpful. We do alcohol rubbing, social distancing and all but at the day the clients have used our benches and touched our door knobs etc so we are sure that the end of each day spraying that they have taken which goes beyond our facility.

At the end of the day, the client and staff are very confidence, at least come the next day they are going to occupy furniture and building that they are sure are free of the virus to begin a new day with.”

Obuasi East District Chief Executive, Faustina Amissah, acknowledges the initiative is very critical to the efforts by government.

“It is very important because it is connected to our lives. Looking at the rate at which the virus is spreading, AngloGold Ashanti has put so much resources to augment the government efforts to fight the virus.”

In response to the disinfection efforts, market leaders could not hide their joy as they thanked AGAG, the assemblies and health directorates for the show of humanity.

Meanwhile, officials of AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited say the company will remain committed to ensuring that measures are in place to closely monitor the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts, to protect the health and safety of its employees and host communities.

It will be recalled that on 15th March 2020, AngloGold Ashanti reported that one of its employees had tested positive for Covid-19. The employee has fully recovered and is expected to resume normal duties.