SAYEWHEH TOWN, Bong â€“ MNG Gold, a Turkish gold mining company operating in Kokoyah Statutory District in Bongâ€™s first district, has embarked on the construction of a clinic for citizens.
The project is part of the companyâ€™s corporate social responsibility support to the citizens for the extraction of gold from the community.
MNG Goldâ€™s general manager, Cem Koray Yagci, said the clinic, when completed, would provide health services to employees of the company and citizens of the district.
â€œAs manager of MNG Gold and my entire staff, we will start this clinic and complete it within this year 2020 for the advancement of our citizens â€“ women and children,â€ Yagci said during the groundbreaking recently in Sayewheh Town.
Yagci called for the communityâ€™s collaboration in his quest to deliver on the companyâ€™s social responsibilities and promises his predecessors made to the community.
The cost of the 13-room facility is US$150,000. It will come with a nurseâ€™s quarter and will be completed and dedicated to the community for use in December this year, according to the companyâ€™s government liaison, Eugene Kollie.
â€œThe clinic is a public facility and [the] government is expected to take responsibility for its management. However, the issue of initial staff salaries will be negotiated between [the] government and MNG Gold,â€ Kollie said.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by scores of citizens and leaders of the district, as well as the districtâ€™s representative, Albert Hills, Bongâ€™s Sen. Henry Yallah, and the administrator of the Bong County Health Team, Jonah Togbah.
Attendees expressed appreciation for the companyâ€™s effort and are eager to see the completion and dedication of the only public health post to be built in the immediate vicinity where the companyâ€™s mines are situated.
â€œWe are happy today to witness this groundbreaking for the clinic,â€ said Rose Somah, chair of the Multiple Stakeholder Platform group in the district. â€œWe thank the company and our leaders for this. As women here, our real appreciation will be expressed during the dedication.â€
Somah said the communities in the area continue to suffer from poor access to healthcare, as they walk long distances to seek care for themselves and for their children.
She assured the company and the contractor of maximum support from the women in the area throughout the construction period.
In time past, the citizens have been apprehensive over the companyâ€™s slow pace in implementing some of its social contributions to the community, often leading to demonstrations.
Rep. Albert Hills and Senator Yallah, who both are natives of the concession area, appealed to the citizens to always be peaceful and collaborate with them to engage the company in a more constructive manner to live up to its commitments.
The two lawmakers said advocacy for the social cooperate benefits to the affected area will be difficult to yield fruits when citizens continue to demonstrate against the company and destroy properties.
In November 2018, there was a demonstration in the areas that resulted in residents looting and vandalizing the companyâ€™s facility.
â€œWhile we are engaging the company on your behalf, we want you people to be peaceful and look up to us,â€ Rep. Hills said.
Hills thanked the management of MNG Gold for initiating the construction of the clinic and expressed hope that the facility be constructed in a timely manner.
For Senator Yallah, the current general manager of the company seems to be â€œsensitive and responsiveâ€ to the needs of the community, for the fact that the company has embarked on implementing key projects captured as a corporate social responsibility to the community.
He encouraged the management to be sincere in living up to its social responsibility to the community.
Jonah Togbah, from the county’s health team, said local health authorities in Bong will ensure the company follows the Ministry of Healthâ€™s standards for constructing clinics in the country.
Last year, the company completed a vocational training school to help train citizens of the affected community. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of the almost US$1 million structure was gutted by fire late last year, causing substantial damage to the school.
MNG Gold has promised to renovate the damaged portion of the school and do a joint dedication of the school and the clinic to the community.
â€œWe have also put in [a] plan to rehabilitate the burnt school in Deanâ€™s Town and immediately turn over in this year for our children to have [a] credible educational system,â€ the companyâ€™s manager said.
Featured photo by Moses Bailey