A directive by chiefs in the Upper West Region on Tuesday abolished all outmoded cultural practices and beliefs that infringed on the rights of the people as well as undermine their total development.
The directive was in line with some previsions in the 1992 Constitution that gave chiefs the mandate to ensure that all outmoded cultural practices and beliefs that were inimical as well as dehumanizing the people be abolished.
Kuoru Kuri Buktie Limann, IV, President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs gave the directive at the launch of the Regional House of Chiefs' HIV/AIDS Project, aimed at stemming the spread of the disease in the communities.
The Project is on the theme: “Traditional authorities in regional fight against HIV/AIDS”.
Kuoru Limann said henceforth no community member should force a brother of a deceased person into marrying the widow, pointing out that the practice had been a major source of the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually infections among the people.
“Under no circumstances should a woman who lost the husband be subjected to inhuman treatment, force to marry and given concoctions to drink or smeared with clay and other substances on the body as rituals,” Kuoru Limann warned.
Kuoru Limann, who is also the Paramount Chief of the Gwollu Traditional Area in the Sissala West District urged community members to report the activities of “wamzams” who were still involved in female genital mutilation to the chiefs for action to be taken against them.
He urged chiefs in the region to go into the communities to educate their people that people living with HIV/AIDS should be treated like any other patient and not be discriminated against.
Kuoru Limann said “It has come to my notice that so many people living with the disease are still being denied basic amenities in the communities on account that the disease could be passed on by personal interaction”.
He said people living with the disease did not imply that they could no longer perform any job for which they had been trained and should not be discriminated against in their efforts to get jobs.
He said such persons should rather be counselled to take the anti-retroviral drugs regularly and use condoms when having sex with their wives.
The Gwollu Kuoru called on people in the region to undertake voluntary testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.
He urged all people having other sexually transmitted infections as well tuberculosis to report to the hospitals for treatment.
Kuoru Limann urged chiefs to educate their people at funerals and market places about HIV/AIDS, which he said was claiming the lives of the workforce of the country.
With regards to stigmatization, Kuoru Limann advised the chiefs to use diplomacy and tact in resolving all cases brought before them, especially those concerning stigmatization in order to sustain peace and unity, and let sanity prevails in the communities.
“Let us work conscientiously to steadily eliminate the impact of HIV/AIDS in our society for the benefit of our traditional areas and the country as a whole,” Kuoru Limann said.
“The battle is protracted but it can be won when we all collaborated and focus our mind set about the devastating effects of the pandemic,” he added.