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11.02.2004 Regional News

Anti-HIV/AIDS organisation launched

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Wenchi (B/A), Feb. 11, GNA - Dr Reuben Tettey, Executive Director of Alliance Against AIDS, a non-governmental organization operating in Wenchi district, has appealed to Ghanaians to contribute towards the achievement of the goal of the Ghana HIV/AIDS strategic framework 2001-2005.

The goal is to prevent and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on individuals, communities and the nation as a whole. Dr Tettey, a veterinary doctor, was speaking at the inauguration of the NGO, at a district HIV/AIDS Response Initiative workshop for representatives of various groups in the district.

The inauguration was under the theme, "The Rights of HIV/AIDS persons are human rights" and was sponsored by the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Dr Tettey explained that the strategic goal was to reduce HIV infection among the 15-49 age group and other vulnerable groups especially the youth by 30 percent by the year 2005. It is our future goal to contribute to the achievement of other very important areas of HIV/AIDS intervention, which is to improve service delivery and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on individuals, family and communities, he added.

Dr Tettey said there were two sentinel centres for HIV/AIDS in the district for surveillance and screening of antenatal mothers and blood screening, offering a reliable data for determining how fast the pandemic was spreading or otherwise.

He provided a data from Ghana Health Service, Wenchi 2003 report, which showed that out of a total of 107 AIDS cases recorded last year in the district, the 15-59 age group topped with 102 cases.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there could be more cases that have not been reported to health authorities, he said, adding that out of the 107 cases, five died.

The Executive Director said out of 1,570 blood samples screened last year, 38, representing 2.4 percent were HIV positive, as compared to 2.5 percent in 2001 and 1.9 percent in 2002.

The challenge for NGOs and Community-based organizations, and indeed for the district-wide health sector is to monitor these figures carefully and help contribute to their reduction, Dr Tettey said.

Dr Tettey said the NGO would also assist in building the organizational capability of other community based organizations involved in HIV/AIDS work to enable them to be responsive to the needs of their communities.

Madam Felicia Abrefa, deputy director of the NGO, said the organization had undertaken activities in some communities in the district.

She named some of the communities as Subinso No 1, Branam, Nwoase, Subinso No 2, Tromeso, Banda Bofie, Sampa, Akrobi, Nsawkaw, Jensoso and Kokoroko.

"Apart from distributing female condoms in these communities, we also screen African and Ghanaian anti-HIV/AIDS films, including our drama performance on video, free of charge," the deputy director added. Madam Abrefa said the NGO undertook monitoring visits to find out how the female condoms were put to good use and had produced two anti-HIV/AIDS songs in the local dialects and one jingle in English and Twi on the pandemic for use by the local FM stations.

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