The lead operator of the country’s two independent premier oil fields, Tullow Ghana, has partnered with Walkabout Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), to present custom-fitted wheelchairs to 175 persons across the country, who are mobility challenged.
The chairs are to help people in selected communities, especially pupils and students who are unable to make it to school on time or cannot move around without assistance due to their condition.
The project is a collaborative and inclusive effort, with Tullow Ghana providing the funding and necessary national, regional and local stakeholder support and alignment while Walkabout Foundation provides expertise, wheelchairs and training.
As part of the package, Tullow Ghana, through the foundation, is also ensuring the training of staff of the Orthopaedic Training Centre (OTC) at Nsawam in the Eastern Region, to support their beneficiary rehabilitation programme and physiotherapy expertise.
An estimated 175 physically challenged individuals will receive the free, new custom-fitted wheelchairs, while 10 staff members of the OTC receive rigorous training in the World Health Organisation’s approved basic wheelchair service training programme.
The staff will learn the theory and practice, as well as recent trends in the provision of orthopaedic healthcare for the benefit of those who would visit the centre.
At the presentation ceremony at Apowa in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region, the Regional Director of the Social Welfare Department, Jonathan Djan-Gyawu, said the move by the company to collaborate with the NGO will bring a lot of relief to those who are mobility challenged.
“The move by the company to support people with special needs will make the beneficiaries feel part of society, and let me tell the families and society that there is no need to be ashamed of them,” he said.
According to the Deputy Managing Director of Tullow Ghana, Cynthia Lumor, “To promote sustainable operations, we look out for the welfare of members of our host communities, particularly students.”
The company’s support, she said, would not only directly benefit the wheelchair recipients, but would increase local capacity in basic and rehabilitative orthopaedic service delivery through the training.
“Beyond that, the life-changing effects of this intervention will impact the families and caregivers of the direct beneficiaries.
We know that this can translate into economic empowerment as well,” she stated.
The Programme Director of Walkabout Foundation, Ellen Gamble, commended Tullow Ghana for the partnership and investment into the project, which she described as impactful.
“This project is our way of contributing to the advancement of society, and we thank Tullow Ghana for the support to provide the training and wheelchairs to the beneficiaries.
Using the Wheels for Humanity’s calculator for wheelchair distributions, we estimate over 600 individuals will be positively impacted through this initiative,” she said.
The Municipal Chief Executive of Effia-Kwesimintsim, Kojo Armah, commended Tullow Ghana for the continued show of support for the communities in the Western Region and parts of the country.
He urged families with persons who had special needs not to be ashamed to seek help to make life comfortable for them, adding that through the help, they would be able to contribute to society.