Gifty Lankai, a 62-year old trader with high blood pressure whose entire adult life has been spent eking out a living under unforgiving weather conditions, sat contemplatively in a plastic chair under a tan awning at Additrom School, Adabraka. Brows furrowed, she gripped desperately unto an expired National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card while her weary eyes took in the teeming crowd around her. She was one of hundreds of residents in and around Adabraka who descended upon the school to receive medical screening, at no charge whatsoever.
When a volunteer approached her, Madam Lankai gladly dropped her NHIS card into the small plastic basket the volunteer presented. Her eyes remained weary, but her tensed brow eased up, perhaps because in that moment, she saw a tangible end to her most pressing health worries. The volunteer took her basket of cards into a classroom where workers, planted behind rows of computers, typed away on keyboards. She ensured that the cards were renewed and presented them to their respective owners. Meanwhile, Madam Lankai was led through a series of exercises, beginning with dental care, followed by an eye screening, and general medical consultation. Before she left the school, she received free medicine, all courtesy of Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) and Graphic Communications Group Limited’s (GCGL) annual Adabraka Health Screening Programme.
Later, Madam Lankai said, ‘medication (for my ailments) are expensive and anytime I visit the clinic for check-up, I find it very difficult to purchase the medications’.
Elatedly, she expressed gratitude to ABL for taking off her ‘burden’ and urged us to ‘continue with the good work to support the less privileged in the society’. She then added, ‘I have been served with soft drinks and water. What else can I ask for? God bless ABL’.
This, a free public health screening, is how ABL, together with GCGL, is impacting lives, communities, and creating a healthier world.
ABL: Supporting the Public Health Agenda
Public health screening, the activity that ensures persons who cannot afford or are incapable of accessing health care benefit from free medical care, has become an integral part of Ghana’s health delivery system, proving a viable option for preventive health care delivery, especially in developing countries.
Unlike the traditional health delivery arrangement, which requires persons seeking medical attention to visit a designated health centre and go through a number of disheartening processes to access health care, public health screening retains an advantage of organically delivering health care at the doorsteps of the people, in a way that is relatively friendly and convenient.
Besides making health care delivery accessible to many, public health screening exercises, such as the one ABL consistently organises for persons and communities within its catchment area, also afford people the privilege of having personalised interactions with health workers, accessing free medicine, and being sensitized on pressing health issues. Where people have grave healthcare problems, they are referred to the hospital for further care. This is where the NHIS registration comes in handy for the participants.
This remarkable act of compassion is not an outlier as ABL has, over the years, demonstrated commitment to fulfilling its Dream of bringing people together for a better world; a healthier world unencumbered by medical complications that could have been easily avoided. Free annual HIV/AIDS screening for residents of Agbogbloshie in December and its Alcohol and Pregnancy Programme, which sensitizes pregnant and expecting women on the dangers of consuming alcohol prior to or during pregnancy, form part of its relentless strategy to create a healthier world.
The Adabraka Health Screening Programme: the Role of ABL and its Partners
Nine years ago ABL partnered GCGL and the German Development Agency (GIZ), Voltic (GH) Limited, and with support from two leading Ghanaian pharmaceutical firms, Kinapharma and Ernest Chemists, to offer free medical support to thousands of people in Adabraka and its adjoining communities.
This year, bolstered by its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) overall dedication to creating a healthier world, ABL once again partners GCGL, with the support of the Accra Diamonds Lions Club, the National Health Insurance Authority, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, and Voltic (GH) Limited, to ensure thousands of patrons receive free general medical screening, treated mosquito nets, dental screening, eye care, and registration unto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Traditional Rulers’ Endorsements
Expressing his delight over ABL’s sustained commitment to meeting the health needs of his people, the Atukpai Mantse of Adabraka, Nii Tetteh Adjarbeng II commended ABL for ‘this great support to the community’, adding that the community will forever appreciate this kind gesture of the Brewery.
Naa Korkor Ajeoyi I, the Atukpai Queen mother of Adabraka, added that ‘the annual health screening exercise has had ‘tremendous impact on my people. Now they know it is essential to seek health care. It has been greatly patronized by the women of the community who now take their children to the Adabraka Polyclinic because of exposure to the free health screening, where the essence of frequent check-ups has been impressed upon them’.
‘‘As a woman, I am not oblivious to the many health challenges that women in the Adabraka community faced. It is this awareness that prompts me to always appreciate ABL for the good work they are doing in the Adabraka community,’’ she commended.
As Ghana moves to reduce the pressure of an overburdened health sector, sustained and collaborative efforts by corporate Ghana to support this endeavour cannot be overemphasised.
For almost a decade, ABL has risen to the challenge, reaching out to industry peers and business partners to give back to communities and impact lives, demonstrating the invaluable impact corporate Ghana can have on Ghana’s health delivery system.