As part of measures to increase awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap under running water, Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GFGL), Tarkwa Mine has observed the “Global Handwashing Day” with residents of Abekoase in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality.
The Global handwashing day is marked annually worldwide on October 15 with the aim of educating citizens on the benefits of hand washing with soap.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Our future is at hand, let’s move forward together”.
In a speech read on behalf of the General Manager of GFGL, Tarkwa Mine, Mr Stephen Osei-Bempah, said as part of activities to commemorate the day, education and demonstration of proper handwashing would be done.
He said as a socially responsible company, Goldfields Ghana would distribute handwashing items to the Water and Sanitation Committees within the Mines host communities and schools to promote good hand hygiene.
The items included; Veronica buckets, handwashing soaps, wheel barrows, rakes, brooms and shovels.
Mr Osei-Bempah stated that “with the assistance of global communities and our partner Non-Governmental Organizations, the school children have been taught a simple technology in the construction of tippy taps. They can now produce and use them at home.
He said through the technology global communities have brought handwashing with soap and water to the doorstep of every house. “I believe this is something everyone can do in the absence of taps or Veronica buckets for handwashing as it is cheap.
“We are also proud to partner global communities to help address the water and sanitation issues in our communities. The pilot project is being implemented at Huniso” he said.
The General Manager said “Survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have shown that areas where handwashing with soap is not promoted, high rate of child mortality are recorded, hence the need for the sensitization of proper and frequent handwashing”.
Mr Osei-Bempah said “Let us therefore help ourselves and our loved ones to stay healthy by washing our hands properly especially before, during and after preparing food, eating, visiting the toilet, blowing our nose, coughing and sneezing”.
He added that “One way we can prevent the spread of germs among children and adults is to educate everyone on the need to wash his or her hands with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, disposable hand wipes and sanitizers can be used”.
Mr Osei-Bempah on behalf of the management of Gold Fields expressed appreciation to its stakeholders for contributing to the peaceful relations that exist between them and the host communities.
He announced that “A recent assessment on the relations between Gold Fields and communities including; other stakeholders conducted by an external consultant confirmed that our relations remain strong and this motivated us to work together and improve on the life of the citizenry”.
“It is therefore not surprising that Gold Fields Ghana continues to work with traditional authorities of Apinto Divisional Council, district assemblies, central departments, Non-Governmental Organizations and others to enhance and improve on the life of our community members through the implementation of various interventions under the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation. We thank all of you for the support” he noted.
Mrs Emelia Baidoo, Public Private Partnership Manager, Global Communities, called on all stakeholders to help to practise the simple task of hand washing.
Mr Joseph Kwaku Sampson, Municipal Health Director of Prestea Huni-Valley, explained that when Ghana recorded the first case of COVID-19, the government intensified the education on hand washing and these had saved many Ghanaians from getting into contact with the deadly virus.
He said “Through these constant education, records at the Prestea Huni-Valley Health Directorate reveals that diarrhoea and respiratory tract infection have reduced”.
Mr Sampson stressed that “GFGL, Tarkwa Mine need healthy workers and community members to go about their duties efficiently, that is why they always invest heavily in such programmes”.
Nana Adarkwah Bediako III, Gyasehene of Apinto Divisional Council, called on all the communities to practise what they learnt and ensure the items they were given would be used for the intended purpose.