OVER ONE hundred and forty-seven thousand Ghanaians are so far known to have died from the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The figure is an estimated total of HIV/AIDS deaths from 1986 to 2007.
Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission disclosed this last Friday during the launch of an HIV/TB workplace Counseling and Testing Project for workers of Aqua Vitens Rand Limited (AVRL).
Professor Awuku Amoa said despite the prevalence rate of 2.2 percent, there was the need to adopt the Multi-Sectoral approach to minimise the number of infected persons.
He said the involvement of the public and private sector was crucial in the country's response to the epidemic due to its concentration in the working age group, adding that it was the reason why the AIDS Commission, in collaboration with the Tripartite Committee, developed the national workplace policy to guide interventions.
Professor Amoa said the launch of the project was a step in the right direction to address the ramifications of the epidemic, and called on management of the company to help realise the aims of the project.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Dr Marius Haas, said the world must not lose hope in its fight against the pandemic, stressing that almost two decades ago, most Germans also regarded the unification of their country as unrealistic and impossible.
Dr Haas said as of 2006, around 40 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide out of which 25 million were in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that according to a recent Church World Service Report, AIDS had killed more people than the two world wars, the Korean, the Vietnam and the Gulf wars combined.
Ambassador Haas said it was against that backdrop that the German Government declared the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, a top priority for its G8-Presidency this year.
The Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface said the contraction of HIV/AIDS was akin to that of loans and grants as it has different modes of transmission, adding that government places premium on the fight against the disease.
He observed that there was no need for Ghanaians to discriminate against and consider People Living With HIV and AIDS as enemies, and that the country's constitution frowns on such actions.
The Managing Director of AVRL, Mr Anne De-Groot said his company was not only committed to facilitating education and training on the job for workers, but also the provision of healthy and safe working environment.
He thanked the German Government for the financial support for the project.
The project would run for three years and would focus on providing counseling, treatment, care and support for AVRL workers living with HIV and AIDS.
By Abubakar Salifu