• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Oil firms embrace health programmes to meet host community obligations

Oil firms embrace health programmes to meet host community obligations

From free reading glasses to complex surgeries, oil companies operating in the Niger Delta are embracing health programmes as part of their host community obligations, sometimes replacing government agencies in offering reliable healthcare services.

As Corporate Social Responsibility transcends traditional charitable giving, responsible businesses are embracing a more holistic approach to CSR, integrating social and environmental initiatives into their core operations.

In oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta, leading oil companies have recognised that people in good health are more productive, implementing comprehensive health programmes aimed at promoting the physical and mental well-being of their people and those in their communities.

These programmes often include initiatives such as wellness education, access to fitness facilities, mental health support, and preventive screenings. This is achieved through partnerships with local healthcare organisations, NGOs, and government agencies to address pressing health issues.

These oil firms sponsor health camps, provide medical equipment, support vaccination drives, and offer financial assistance for medical treatments in underserved areas.

These community health initiatives contribute to reducing healthcare disparities, improving access to quality care, and promoting overall well-being within the communities they operate in.

One example is the ‘Eye Can See’ programme, initiated by Seplat Energy Plc in partnership with NNPC E&P Limited, in Edo and Delta States, Nigeria which are Seplat JV operation areas. It seeks to provide quality healthcare to host communities and reduce cases of permanent vision loss.

Through a multi-faceted approach, the programme aims to deliver eye surgeries, distribute free optical treatments and reading glasses, screen patients for underlying health conditions, and provide health education to participants. By targeting all age groups and genders, the programme ensures inclusivity and addresses the specific needs of diverse communities.

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Seplat Energy Plc collaborates with medical practitioners like the Family Health Outreach Association and the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, to deliver high-quality eye care services.

Chioma Afe, Director, of External Affairs and Sustainability at Seplat, in her remarks at the launch of the 2023 edition of the initiative at the Oba Of Benin’s Palace, said the programme aligns with the pursuit of good health and well-being which is what the UN Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 3, which demonstrates Seplat Energy commitment to global best practices.

“Since the inception of the programme in 2012, the lives of many in our host communities and other areas have been richly impacted. A total of 96,411 patients have been screened; 45,074 reading glasses have been dispensed; and 4,218 surgeries performed. And the 2023 edition, which was flagged off at the Oba’s Palace Benin, will further boost these numbers. About 90 communities will be served using 13 centres across Edo and Delta states.”

“With this, we are able to impact communities and families. People that were hitherto blind can see now, and they can go out and do work to earn a living. This is one of the indirect impacts of the programme.”

Whilst delivering his goodwill message, the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, represented by Chief Stanley Obamwonyi, the Esere of Benin Kingdom, thanked Seplat Energy and partners for the delivery of the programme, which he noted had been consistent over the years.

“We thank Seplat Energy and its partners for the constant featuring of this ‘Eye Can See’ programme, which has tremendously helped my people. We can only urge you to continue in this light,” the Oba said.

An analysis of the programme offers key lessons including the significance of community engagement, collaboration with local partners, customisation of programmes to address specific healthcare needs, and leveraging technology for improved outcomes. By adopting these best practices, companies can maximise the impact of their healthcare CSR programmes.

Health programmes have emerged as a vital avenue through which corporations can fulfil their HOSTCOM aspirations in a country where inadequate funding goes to the health sector. By investing in employee well-being and community health, companies demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and sustainable development.

These programmes not only have a positive impact on the health outcomes of individuals but also enhance brand reputation, attract top talent, and foster a more inclusive society. As more companies recognise the value of investing in health, we can expect to see a positive shift towards a healthier and more prosperous future for all.