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17.10.2003 General News

United Nations Day celebrations launched in Accra

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Accra, Oct. 17, GNA- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs on Friday launched the 58th United Nations (UN) Day celebrations in Accra with a call for massive education on the HIV/AIDS to prevent the disease from stalling national development efforts. He said the estimated relative low prevalence rate of 3.4 per cent of the disease in Ghana, as compared to some countries on the African continent should leave no room for complacency in dealing with the disease.

" Every effort should, therefore, be made to educate Ghanaians about the disease and the effect it would have on our economic development if its spread in our country is not stopped", he said.

Highlight of the celebration will be a flag-raising ceremony at the forecourt of the State House on Friday October 24, 2003, the UN Day. Other activities include special prayers for the UN in churches and mosques, radio and television programmes and a model Security Council meeting.

Nana Akufo-Addo said HIV/AIDS was the greatest threat, facing mankind today especially Africa, and pointed out that of over 36 million people living with the disease worldwide, more than 23 million were in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He said in 1982, only one African country, Uganda, had an adult HIV prevalence rate of two per cent, but the number had increased to 21 countries where more than seven per cent of the adults now lived with the disease.

AIDS has also orphaned more than eight million children in Africa, and HIV is increasing child mortality because more than one million children are infected.

Nana Akufo-Addo said even though the disease had so far not seriously affected Ghana, Government was determined to implement the goals set in the UN Declaration at its Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001. He said under the requirements of the Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa, Government was providing resources to the Ghana AIDS Commission to perform its work.

The Commission was set up to co-ordinate all activities in the fight against the disease on the Continent.

Nana Akufo-Addo said as part of the programme to propagate this year's theme " HIV/AIDS -A Global Concern: Ghana-UN Partnership", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had organised activities in some Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) to sensitise the youth about the disease and stop its spread.

The UN was created in 1945 after the end of the Second World War, to succeed the League of Nations, stated in its Charter, among other things to "save succeeding generations" from the scourge of war. Ghana joined the UN few days after independence in 1957, and has since been an active member.

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