Some 450 people living in and around Lashibi, Batsoona and the Spintex Road have benefited from a health screening exercise organised by the Helpers Arena of the Keepers House Chapel International.
The beneficiaries, mainly squatters within the three communities, were also vaccinated against Covid-19 and registered onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable them to access basic healthcare services.
The church further donated food items to the elderly and widows as a token gesture for the church’s third anniversary.
The Head Pastor of the church, Rev. Ebenezer Kwesi Hamilton, told journalists that the exercise was the church’s social responsibility to the community that played host to the church.
Participants were screened for non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and also sensitised to heart diseases, stroke, alcohol and drug abuse, among others.
Rev. Hamilton indicated that the financial burden of enrolling onto the NHIS and the subsequent renewal of subscription were a major impediment to many people in accessing basic health care.
He said while many people, including residents of the squatter communities in the area, had been hesitant to the COVID-19 vaccination, the response during the exercise was encouraging.
As such, he stressed the church would undertake sensitisation campaigns within the settlements in partnership with its medical outreach team to whip up the urgency for acceptability of the vaccines among the squatter population as part of its evangelism activities.
“The squatter population in our community of operation continues to increase on a daily basis as people seek for better living conditions across the city, and as a church, we are looking at expanding the scope of the exercise to identify particularly teenage mothers who we can enrol in vocational training programmes as our contribution to poverty reduction in the community,” Rev. Hamilton said.
A first time COVID-19 vaccine recipient, Nathaniel Annan, said he did not take the vaccine because he was skeptical about it.
He said while he later embraced the idea to get vaccinated, there were no vaccination centres in his community for him to visit.
“So when I had information that there was going to be vaccination here at the church, I came to partake in the exercise,” Mr Annan said.
A first time registrant of the NHIS, Sarah Nkansah, also said she lost interest in joining the scheme because of some very bad experiences, alleging that there were attempts to extort money from her in the past when she visited some registration centres.
“The exercise here, although tiring due to the high number of people who turned up to be enrolled onto the scheme, is worth it because I got registered without having to pay any form of ‘facilitation fee’ to anyone,” Ms Nkansah said.