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25.03.2004 Regional News

Queenmothers asked to set up support teams for PLWHAs

By GNA

Koforidua, Mar.24, GNA - Members of the Eastern Region Queenmothers Association have been urged to set up support teams for people living with HIV/AIDS(PLWHAs) to enable them to get the necessary love and compassion

in the communities instead of the stigamatisation they commonly face. A representative of the John Hopkins University at the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Mr John Fiagbe, who made the call at a day's advocacy workshop for members of the Association at Koforidua on Wednesday, also urged them to advocate the mordernisation of obsolete traditional practices that promote good morals and discipline in the youth, as far as sex-related issues were concerned.

The workshop, which was to deliberate on how best they could use their role to combat the spread of the HIV/AIDs in the region, was attended by queenmothers and their attendants from various traditional areas in the region and sub-chiefs in the New Juaben Traditional Area. Participants were taken through topics, including "Mother-to-child transmission", "Signs and symptoms of HIV/AIDs", "Stigamatisation", "Voluntary counselling and testing", :Management strategies for AIDs patients" and "Why the Queenmothers shound be involved in the HIV/AIDS campaign."

Speaking on the "Stigmatisation facing PLWHAs", Mr Fiagbe, observed with concern that the stigma being experienced by victims of HIV/AIDS had compounded issues in the fight against the pandemic.

He said research had indicated that some people still did not believe in the mode of transmission and the fact that the disease is real, noting that due to the stigmatisation, it had become increasingly difficult in getting victims of the disease to be provided with practical support to give the disease the human face that would impact positively on the public.

The Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Dr Oti Boateng, who chaired the function, called for the support of traditional rulers in terms of logistics to help combat the pandemic, noting that without the effective collaboration of the traditional rulers and the District Assemblies there would be no headway in the fight against the disease.

He noted that it was the lack of some cultures that had faded away in the system that had contributed to the high prevalence rate, saying that it was wrong to promote the use of condoms among the youth instead of abstinence.

According to the Omanhene, in the olden days it was a taboo to talk about sex in public which he described as a "positive way in keeping the youth stay clear from sexually-transmitted diseases."

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