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29.03.2004 Regional News

33 die of HIV/AIDS at Wa Hospital

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Wa, March 28, GNA - Out of 189 patients who were screened at the Wa Regional Hospital last year, 104 were infected with the HIV/AIDS virus and 33 of them died during the period. At the same time, 91 blood donors tested positive for the virus when the blood samples of a total of 1927 donors were screened. Dr Edward Gyader, Medical Director of the hospital, made these startling revelations at the first anniversary celebration of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) at the Wa on Thursday. The anniversary also coincided with the hospital's Open Day celebration during which 35 blood donors and about 20 workers from various categories of the GHS in the region were presented with awards.

The award winners received assorted prizes including 20" colour television sets, gas cookers and cylinders, ghetto blasters, radio sets, wall clocks executive bags and rain coats. Mrs Cecilia Beni, a Principal Nursing Officer at the Regional Hospital was adjudged the over-all best worker for 2003 and received a 20" colour TV set, a gas stove and a cylinder.

Dr Gyader said the high rate at which HIV/AIDS cases were being discovered at the hospital, called for the involvement of everybody in the campaign to reduce the spread of the disease. This must not be left to health workers and the NGOs alone, he added. He appealed to the government to release funds to relocate owners of private houses whose presence in the hospital premises, was posing a nuisance to both patients and staff. According to him, the animals of these residents roam freely within the hospital and drop their waste at the corridors to the discomfort of everyone who had something to do at the hospital. He said the hospital lacked many basic facilities such as laundry equipment a modern stand-by generator and a conducive environment, which cumulatively did not qualify it to merit the status of a regional hospital.

Dr Erasmus Agongo, Regional Director of Health Services said though the staffing situation had not improved, some development activities to improve the situation had been carried out. This included the opening of a community health nursing training school in February last year, while the Nursing Training College at Jirapa had expanded its intake for the general nursing programme.

Dr Agongo expressed regret that the region had made no strides in its intention to institute incentive packages to attract critical staff like doctors and hoped the situation would change this year. Mr Sahanun Mogtari, Upper West Regional Minister expressed concern about the slow pace of the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme in the region. He reminded health personnel and the task forces set up for the scheme that the creation of the GHS must be seen as a challenge to them to collaborate and ensure easy and affordable access to health facilities by the ordinary people.