Aliu Mahama establishes ‘Life Care Foundation’
2011-09-14 20:31:30This article has been read 1396 times.
In his quest to continue to serve and impact positively in the lives of his people across the three Northern regions and Ghana at large, former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama has set up a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to help tackle some critical health, educational, social and economic challenges facing the majority of Ghanaians, especially, those up north.
The core objective of the NGO, known as Life Care Foundation (LCF), is to complement the government’s efforts at improving the health and general wellbeing of the people of this nation.
The Life Care Foundation, which is also to serve as a humanitarian organisation to touch lives of many Ghanaians, especially, those in the extremely deprived regions and communities, would be working closely with both local, international development and donor organisations to bring home the needed medical equipment, facilities and health specialists to support the health sector at the local level.
Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama officially announced the establishment of the NGO in Tamale, when he brought into Ghana three top ophthalmologists from Louisville in the United States of America (USA), led by Dr. Nathaniel Green, head of the Louisville Eye Centre and also a lecturer at the University of Louisville, to support the Eye Centre at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH).
The visit also paved the way for the authorities at the Tamale Teaching Hospital to enter into an agreement with the Louisville Eye Centre, which is reportedly about five times bigger than the whole of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, and has all the up-to-date medical facilities, to exchange personnel and also supply the TTH with the requisite equipment that would enhance eye care delivery.
Upon their arrival in Tamale, the three medical experts were received by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Dr. Ken Sagoe, and other management staff, the Tamale Mayor, Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday, and the Northern Regional Chief Director at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) at a durbar of senior health personnel at the Conference Hall of the hospital.
The visit of Dr. Nathaniel Green and his team was almost like a homecoming summit, since it also sought to strengthen the longstanding Sister City Relationship between the Tamale Metropolis and the City of Louisville.
Addressing the durbar, the former Vice President expressed grave concern over the increasing rate of blindness and other eye-related diseases involving the majority of the people, especially, farmers along the White and the Black Volta rivers who are often attacked by black flies and other dangerous insects.
The situation, he indicated, was seriously affecting the socio-economic fortunes of the people, and expressed the need for the government to give special attention to eye care delivery in the region, to save breadwinners and family heads from going blind.
The former Vice President revealed that in the whole of the three Northern regions there was only one ophthalmologist taking care of a population of over four million, as compared to the USA, where one ophthalmologist takes care of 25,000 people.
Alhaji Aliu Mahama further indicated that apart from the low number of the eye centres in the three regions, the few existing ones were also highly under-resourced.
However, the former Vice President hinted that his NGO would concentrate largely on how to minimise eye problems by way of organising periodic eye screening exercises, with both local and international eye specialists for the people up north, and also secure the requisite eye care equipment for the health centres.
It would be recalled that former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama and his wife became the largest donors of assorted medical equipment to the Tamale Teaching Hospital and other health centres across Ghana.
On the other hand, Alhaji Aliu Mahama unveiled plans by his NGO to have its headquarters in Accra, and other outlets in the regional capitals, in order to become more accessible to the people.
He said even though his concentration was currently on the three Northern regions to see how best he could support the people out of disease, poverty, and also get quality education, the NGO was going to be national in character.
The former Vice President disclosed that his organisation was also going to show an interest in complementing the government in promoting quality education through the supply of adequate computers to enhance ICT training, supply of free school uniforms, learning and teaching materials, and other basic educational materials to lessen the burdens of parents.
“In fact, I am dreaming big, but right now, I don’t have enough funds to implement all my vision for the people of Ghana, so we are going to tackle the issues bit-by-bit until we get there. When I was in office as Vice President, I did everything possible to serve my people, and everybody can attest to the fact that I have been the longest-serving Vice President in the history of Ghana.
Even though I am supposed to take rest after office, I still believe that with the links, good relationships, and contacts I have been able to establish with the business organisations, chiefs and other local and international donors within the eight years in office, I can take advantage of that to support my people and also serve this nation.”
Alhaji Aliu, therefore, appealed to individuals, organisations and other international donors to support his bid to enable him put smiles on the faces of the people.
On his part, Dr. Ken Sagoe commended the former Vice President for his continuous support and love for patients at the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
According to Dr. Sagoe, Alhaji Aliu had earlier facilitated his visit to Louisville to discuss the problem of the Teaching Hospital with the authorities at the Hospital of Louisville, who eventually agreed to supply the Tamale Hospital with equipment.
However, the hospital donated a cornea – a part of the human eye – for transplanting in another person who needed it in Ghana, but it was impounded by the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Accra for more than 48 hours, which destroyed the tissue covering the cornea, rendering it useless.
If it had been brought to the Tamale Teaching Hospital successfully for use by Dr. Seth Wayne, the one and only ophthalmologist in the whole of the three Northern regions, it would have been the first time a Ghanaian doctor was carrying out such operation.
Even in Africa, only South Africa is on record to have ever carried out a successful cornea transplant.
However, Dr. Ken Sagoe said the Louisville hospital authorities had also promised to expand and resource the eye centre at the Tamale Teaching Hospital to become one of the best in Ghana and Africa.
Meanwhile, just like the Tamale Teaching Hospital benefiting from the Louisville Hospital and the Tamale Metro Assembly also benefiting from the Louisville City authorities, the University for Development Studies (UDS) School of Medicine and Health Sciences has also established a strong relationship with the University of Louisville, through former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
The relationship opens windows for both institutions to exchange programmes and lecturers as and when necessary.
The leader of the Louisville medical team, Dr. Nathaniel Green, acknowledged the effective role being played by the former Vice President in strengthening the relationship between the people of Tamale and Louisville.
He also commended the authorities of the Tamale Teaching Hospital for their warm reception, and assured them of continued support. The Mayor of Tamale, Alhaji Haruna Friday, encouraged the team and other people of Louisville, especially investors, to come and invest in Tamale to create jobs for people.
Dr. Nathaniel Green and his team organised an eye screening exercise for the people of Tolon in the Tolon-Kumbungu District for free, and supplied the affected ones with lenses.
Later in the evening, a dinner was organised at the private residence of the former Vice President in honour of the Louisville medical team, together with the CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, other medical officers, and the media.