Keeping Hearts Awake With #One4Life Initiative

Hajia Abiba Alikali has been a housewife all her life. Growing up in Accra Newtown and Nima, she has four children, two boys and two girls.

Everything was normal for five decades of her life until eight years ago, Hajia felt a sharp pain in her chest. She thought it was a usual chest pains but the next day, the pain has gotten worse and before she could blink she was lying on a hospital bed at Ridge Hospital.

She was discharged but it didn’t take long for her to go back. It was after her second emergency visit that she was referred to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for an echocardiography, a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels attached to the heart.

There she was diagnosed of Rheumatic Heart Disease, a heart disease that results from rheumatic fever characterised by reduced functional capacity of the heart caused by inflammatory changes to the muscular tissues of the heart.

Oscar Mireku is nine year old, lives at Madina in Accra with his loving mother and father. He is in Class Four at Brookwood Hill International School and dreams of becoming one of the nation’s top pilots.

But Oscar was born with a hole-in-heart and due to his condition he could hardly play with his colleagues at school. The times to be with his friends were spent on the corridors of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for medication to stabilise his condition while his mum and dad scavenged everywhere from selling all they had to soliciting funds from church and other organisations to heal their son.

What has Hajia Abiba Alikali and Oscar have in common? First they have heart conditions that need thousands of dollars to cure and secondly they both ended up at the National Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

 The most important denominator between Hajia and Oscar is Awake Purified Drinking Water, the bottled water brand of Kasapreko Company Limited, which is making waves as the first charity-driven water company in the country.

 Awake’s Purified Drinking water in partnership with the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Korle-bu Ghana has been hailed as ‘refreshing’, ‘innovative’, and ‘transformative’ by industry watchers.

The partnership stipulates that anytime a 500ml and 1,500ml bottle of Awake Purified Drinking water is purchased the National Cardiothoracic Centre receives 1 and 2pesewa(s) respectively to help save someone’s life.

Due to this partnership, 16 hearts and lives, including those of Hajia and Oscar have been kept awake and are now living their dreams.

With the tagline, One4Life, Awake has so far presented cheques GH¢20,000 as seed capital; GH¢60,000, from Kasapreko Founder, Dr. Kwabena Adjei’s pocket; GH¢36,000, as first quarter donation; GH¢70,000 as second quarter donation; and GH¢100,000 as third quarter donation; these sum up to GH¢286,000.

On 18th July, the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Dr. Lawrence Agyeman Sereboe and his team of other doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners successfully operated on Hajia, Oscar and others to cure them of their ailments after the intervention of Awake.

When she was diagnosed eight years ago, Hajia’s condition cost US$6,000 to rectify but increased to US$8,000. Regularly Hajia prayed for benevolent organisations and individuals to come to her aid but to no avail. She, in her own words, almost gave up due to the pain and her inability to breathe normally.

But now, not only is Hajia relieved to be able to breathe comfortably, so is her family who, for the past eight years had done everything possible to raise funds for her to be cured.

Oscar, also, is able to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot, something that almost got derailed due to his hole-in-heart disease despite his father selling his two commercial vehicles and resorted to selling second-hand clothing with his wife just so their son could be sustained his medication.

With the mission to supporting economically disadvantage patients who cannot afford medical care for heart transplants, heart surgeries, and any other forms of heart disease, Awake’s move is gradually reshaping the essence and focus of corporate social responsibility and helping the centre increase their assistant to patients who cannot afford to pay their medical bills.

Initiated by Dr. Kwabena Adjei, founder of Kasapreko Company Limited, the launch of the One4Life campaign has brought to life one of his many dreams in aiding society through responsible and benevolent corporate social responsibility.

“People are diagnosed with some type of heart disease every 15 minutes and sadly many die every day. We empathize with these patients, especially the children that is why we introduced the one4life project, where profits from selling Awake Purified Drinking Water, will be donated to the National Cardiothoracic Center Ghana,”  a statement on Awake’s website read.

Setting a modest target of GH¢100,000, the company has already donated GH¢180,000 to the centre and is even yet to make the third and fourth quarter donations. As revenues increase, so shall the quantum of donation to the centre surge.

In a twist of fate, Hajia, who is a major patron of Awake Water since its introduction onto the market, couldn’t believe that the water she drinks everyday is now saving her life and is forever grateful to Awake.

“I came in for routine check up and he [Dr. Sereboe] asked me about my ability to raise funds and still told him I am yet to raise the money. Then he told me he had found someone who will take up the entire cost of my surgery including post surgery medication and food. I cried and cried and thanked him a lot.

“After taking my medication, I am hale and hearty. I am no longer in pain, neither do I experience intermittent sharp pains and surges. I appreciate the works of Awake Water for coming to my aid,” she says amidst tears of joy for finally seeing an end to her pain.

Ebenezer Oduwa, Oscar Mireku’s father also couldn’t hold back his happiness and excitement after finally seeing an end to his son’s pain and anguish.

“We are here to appreciate the works of Awake Water. Formerly I was a taxi driver who owned two cars but due to Oscar’s need for medication I had to sell my cars. Now I am feeling better because I no longer buy drugs again and it is my prayer that I will go back to owning my cars again.

“My God richly bless Awake Water. They did a great service to us,” whiles urging everyone to patronise Awake Water “because it is not just water to drink but water that intends to save lives.”

Dr. Sereboe, the head of the National Cardiothoracic Centre was equally appreciative of the support Kasapreko producers of Awake Water has extended to these families. “We say thank you. We are ever grateful when people come to the aid of our patients because we know the problems they go through and we know that without help most of these people will pass away,” he says.

Out of every 100 children born has a hole-in-heart condition worldwide and the situation in Ghana is not any different.

Looking at Ghana’s population and birth-rate, it is estimated that about 6,000 to 7,000 new cases of hole-in-heart are added to the existing numbers yearly.

“On my list alone –to get on my list it means you have made some financial commitment— we have about 200 children with various forms of hole-in-heart. Meanwhile this doesn’t include the children with similar conditions at the Department of Child Health,” he states.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sereboe, notes that the average cost of a hole-in-heart surgery is between US$6,000 to US$8,000, which is cheap, considering the fact that elsewhere on the planet, it costs about US$20,000, but that cheaper cost, taking into consideration the Ghanaian median household income, is beyond reach.

Gratitude and the future

Clarence Amenyah, Head of International Business Development, notes that the growth in volumes and value of the product is due to the Ghanaian consumer who believes in the One4Life initiative.

“We urge them to continue to buy awake drinking water so we can continue saving patients with heart conditions,” he says, adding that the future of Awake looks very bright. “We are humbled and encouraged at the same time. Having done GH¢36,000 for the first quarter and now doing GH¢70,000, it just tells you the growth in sales and patronage.”

Kasapreko now operates as a total beverage company which also produces, the Royal range of soft drinks including Royal Apple, Royal Cola, Hi5 Chocomalt and Storm energy drink.

This makes the company the first local company in Ghana to operate as a full strength beverage business.

Awake prides itself in delivering perfectly pure and quality tasting water to everyone, by using a reverse osmosis that involves 14 separate steps that work together to deliver a pure refreshing taste.

Established in 1989 by Dr. Kwabena Adjei, a businessman, with the determination to respond to the growing demand for quality drinks, Kasapreko Company Ltd has a state of the art production facility located at Spintex in Accra, which is equipped with world-­class machinery that contribute to the production of our various brands in different kinds of packaging which includes Awake Purified Drinking Water.

As the first local manufacturer to establish a modern quality control and product development laboratory, and the first to introduce its own proprietary custom-­‐made bottles and caps, Kasapreko has been awarded as The Manufacturing Company of the Year by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana in 2013.

So the next time you buy a bottle of Awake Purified Drinking Water, do not think you are just buying any other water, you are actually helping a heart.

Awake One4life.