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06.12.2002 General News

20,000 Aids Victims ...in and around Krobo

By Chronicle
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IT IS NOW known that out of the estimated national figure of 500,000 HIV/AIDS patients in Ghana today, some 20,000 dwell in and around the Krobo communities in the Eastern Region.

The staggering district figure was made known at Akuse over the weekend during this year's World AIDS Day celebration when the Manya Krobo district held a durbar of chiefs and people to mark the event.

Delivering a message at the durbar, which hammered on stigma and discrimination reduction, the district focal person on HIV/AIDS, Miss Gloria Nyavor, stressed the need for physical, emotional and spiritual support for victims, saying it is by so doing that we can give the needed encouragement to live longer and give them a sense of belonging.

The focal person therefore admonished friends and relatives of affected persons not to shun them but rather visit, assist and care for them.

Speaking to the Chronicle later, Miss Nyavor explained that the estimated figure of 20,000 came about largely from data from the Atua Government Hospital and St. Martin De Porres Hospital at Agormanya, which are two Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VTC) points in the district.

According to Nyavor "incidentally, people from adjoining districts like Yilo and Asuogyama also visit these sites because of the facilities available at these centres."

She indicated that the number given does not represent Manya Krobo alone.

Contributing, the Konor of Manya Krobo, Nene Sakitey II, advised all to be faithful to their partners to curb the menace.

He urged all social groups and organisations to continue to preach the message at their regular meetings.

Taking advantage of the venue and having in mind a few developments that preceded the hosting of the durbar at Akuse, Nene reminded all Adangbe-speaking tribes to remain united since unity is the only weapon for progress and development.

The Konor said the Osudokus are not just neighbours but brothers and sisters to the Krobos and hoped that issues bordering on land ownership would not be allowed to divide them.

On his part, the senior programme officer of Family Health International (FHI), a U.S. funded non-governmental organisation, Mr. Kwadwo Benefour, called for an intensification of messages on behavioural change, saying "it is the surest way of reducing the risks of contracting the virus.

Earlier in a chat with the Chronicle, Mr. Benefour reminded peer educators to be wary of the messages they put across as they work on the fields.

He said that some messages like "AIDS is a killer" can be very dangerous due to the element of fear it contains.

Later the chairman of Krobo Drivers Union, another community based organisation, Alhaji Ahmed Sule, intimated to this paper that drivers had a strategic role to play in the fight against the pandemic because of their movements to and fro and called on all other GPRTU branches to get involved.

Alhaji Sule, also known as Paa Emma, charged drivers and passengers alike to discuss the reality of HIV/AIDS openly on their journeys instead of engaging in unnecessary gossips and arguments.

He also reminded them that prostitution is the main vehicle of spreading the virus and was happy that all his drivers who went for voluntary testing came out clean.

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