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01.11.2008 Health

US donates vehicle to military HIV/AIDS unit

By gna

The United States Government on Friday donated a Toyota Land Cruiser worth 55,000 US dollars to the office of Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) HIV/AIDS control programme.

The vehicle is to enable the office to run its administrative duties effectively and to promote efficiency.

Handing over the vehicle, Mr Donald Teitelbaum US Ambassador to Ghana, said HIV/AIDS was not only a health problem since it posed development, social and security challenges to a nation.

“Since 2004 the US government has been providing funds from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to make available the training of peer educators, laboratory technicians, doctors, nurses and other health personnel in the military,” he said.

He commended the Ghana Armed Forces HIV/AIDS control programme for its rigorous testing and the readiness to sustain current peacekeeping operations.

Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Defence, said because the GAF regarded HIV/AIDS as a major enemy, it was actively educating its troops and their families on the dangers of the disease through seminars, conferences and workshops in all the units.

“HIV/AIDS counselling centres have been established in the units and the US Government is currently supporting the GAF to establish seven voluntary counselling and testing centres and has provided 78,000 dollars worth of laboratory equipment. It is also providing training of personnel outside Ghana through the Department of Defence HIV/AIDS prevention programme (DHAPP) and the 37 Military Hospital would be receiving 90,000 dollars worth laboratory equipment.”

He said the vehicle would contribute immensely to improving the progress of work by the GAF HIVS/AIDS programme.

Mr Kan-Dapaah expressed the hope that cooperation between the US and Ghana would continue to improve in the future.