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07.11.2003 Regional News

Use HIS/AIDS funds judiciously

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Nkonya-Ahenkro (V/R), Nov 7, GNA- Mr Solomon Kwame Donkor, Jasikan District Chief Executive (DCE) has warned organisations working on HIV/AIDS programmes in the district to use funds allocated to them judiciously or face the full rigours of the law.

He was speaking at the launch of an anti-HIV/AIDS programme for first and second cycle schools at the Nkonya Secondary School in the Jasikan district on Thursday.

He expressed concern about the increasing rate of the disease in the district and asked parents and religious leaders to support the anti-HIV/AIDS programme to prevent the spread of the disease.

"The virus is reducing the labour force like the depletion of the nation's forest," he said.

Mr Donkor said the Assembly has set aside one percent of its Common Fund to support HIV/AIDS programme and, called on traditional rulers and the public to join the crusade to fight against the spread of the disease.

The DCE launched two HIV/AIDS books titled "The Jottings of a dying Journalist: HIV/AIDS Education through Poems for Adults" and "Tomorrow Shall Never Be - HIV/AIDS for Basic Schools". The Needy Club of Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, wrote the books.

Mrs Joanna Opare, United Nations Systems Gender Programme Manager said the increasing number of aids cases pose a threat to the development of the country.

She said the recent statistics indicate that as at the end of the year 2002, 64,361 HIV/AIDS cases had been officially reported. "It is however estimated that it is only 30 per cent of cases that is reported", she said.

Mrs Opare appealed to parents to be more vigilant on the movements and activities of their children, provide them their needs and discuss sexual issues with them adding, that teachers should also play pro-active role in educating the youth with reproductive health education and counselling.

She urged the people to fight for the de-stigmatisation of the HIV/AIDS.

"Stigmatisation only spread HIV/AIDS, people living with it need compassion and support, reach out in love to them", she said. Rev Wilberforce Akuamoah-Boafo, Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Needy Club of Ghana, an NGO, the organisers of the launch, said the club was to educate the people, especially the youth to lead in reasonable lifestyles.

He said the club was organising women in the rural areas into groups for soft loans to supplement the government's effort of reducing poverty which he said, was one of the causes of the HIV/AIDS.

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