09.06.2006 Regional News

35 paramount chiefs in Ashanti lead crusade against HIV/AIDS

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Thirty-five paramount chiefs in the Ashanti Region, have started a massive campaign against HIV/AIDS in the region.

Nana Tabi Gyansah, Paramount chief of Mpasaso Number One, who announced this, said it was in response to Otumfuo's initiative to lead the crusade against the pandemic.

He was speaking at a durbar organized by the Mpasaso Traditional Council for the Serwaa Ampem AIDS Foundation in collaboration with Promoting Partnership with Traditional Authorities (PPTAP), both NGOs at Mpasaso on Wednesday.

Nana Gyansah said all the paramount chiefs in the region would soon organize training workshops on HIV/AIDS for their sub-chiefs to be sponsored by the two NGOs to equip them with the requisite skills and knowledge to spread the preventive message to the people. He urged the people not to associate the disease with witchcraft and other supernatural causes and avoid promiscuous lives, which was the major cause of the pandemic.

Dr Thomas Agyarko Poku, a medical practitioner and a resource person for the NGOs, cautioned the people not to be lured by some traditional healers and pastors, who claimed to have the cure for the disease, since the search for its cure had yielded no results yet. He disclosed that the distribution of anti-retroviral drugs to AIDS patients would soon be extended to all district hospitals for easy accessibility.

Madam Cynthia Cecilia Sakyi, Disease Control Officer at the Suntreso Hospital in Kumasi, urged people not to attribute every emaciated body to HIV/AIDS, since tuberculosis (TB) could also lead to leanness. She appealed to people to report immediately to hospitals or clinics any symptoms of the disease, since it would be treated freely.

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