We continue to work with employees, communities, and government to navigate the pandemic and keep everyone safe. Initiatives, aimed both at employees and surrounding communities, include awareness and personal hygiene campaigns.
At mine level, we have repositioned ourselves and collaborated on efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana in March 2020, we donated $183,351 (through the Ghana Chamber of Mines) to the Ghanaian President’s COVID-19 Trust Fund.
Subsequently, in line with our Emergency Response Plan, we have undertaken several interventions to protect our employees, contractors, and host communities from contracting COVID-19. We have embarked on rigorous awareness campaigns, both on site and across our host communities. We have also donated hand washing facilities and assorted items to host communities and those in high-risk areas in Tarkwa, including hospitals, lorry stations, major markets and schools, as part of efforts to promote hygiene.
Again, since our health professionals are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, Iduapriem has donated assorted personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to hospitals in the municipality to assist in the management of COVID-19 cases.
As a member of the Municipal Emergency Response Team, Iduapriem was cognisant of the fact that much effort had gone into preventing the spread of the disease in the municipality through enhanced surveillance activities, including identification of victims, testing, contact tracing, and vaccination. However, a major challenge in our preparedness capability was the adequate provision of facilities for the isolation and treatment of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the municipality.
As a mine, we worked closely with the relevant authorities to find suitable accommodation to house an isolation centre for the municipality. Thus, in August 2021, Iduapriem handed over a refurbished 20-bed, fully resourced Communicable Diseases Unit for use as isolation centre for the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality. The cost of the unit was about GH₵300,000.
Beyond the refurbishment, Iduapriem also spent about GH₵700,000 to procure essential medical equipment, not only for use by the facility but for the management of COVID-19 cases in the municipality. Equipment included: 100 hospital beds with mattresses, patient monitors, 80 drip stands, 30 infra-red thermometers, 20 air conditioners, 30 blood pressure monitors, 10 pulse oximeters, and 30 fridges, among others.
Also, to support and enhance the COVID-19 management and testing capacity of the municipality, Iduapriem spent an additional GH₵500,000 on cartridges, swabs sticks, PPE, toiletries, cleaning materials and sanitisers, as well as essential medications and immune boosters.
In addition, we continue to use our malaria spraying platforms to support community COVID-19 environmental hygiene initiatives. These initiatives receive financial support from both AngloGold Ashanti and the Global Fund.
While we continue to do our part, we appeal to everyone to avail themselves for vaccination and to continue to abide by the safety and social distancing protocols outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) by maintaining social distance, washing hands with soap under running water, and wearing face masks.
Access to vaccines is slowly improving and the vaccination roll-out programme is being administered in line with the Ghanaian government’s priority rankings in terms of which mineworkers are categorised as essential workers in the initial phases of the vaccination programme.