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General News | May 21, 2004

HACI gives hope to over 40,000 orphans

GNA

Accra, May 21, GNA - Over 40,000 children who have been made orphans and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS in Ghana have been receiving direct support and assistance from Hope for African Children Initiative (HACI), a Pan African effort that addresses the challenges of people living with AIDS. HACI Ghana, established three months ago, has provided support in the area of medication, nutrition, provision of school and learning materials, payment of fees and skill training for orphans and vulnerable children, who have been affected by AIDS.

Speaking at a Press Soiree on Thursday, Ms Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, HACI Country Director, said the organization aimed at strengthening the capacity of African communities to advocate care for and support children impacted by HIV/AIDS and prevent further spread of the virus. She said its mission in Ghana would be to mobilise resources and stakeholders to develop a nationwide plans to reduce the vulnerability of children and women.

Ms Amekudzi recounted the history of AIDS in Ghana and listed cultural and social norms; migration and urbanization; lack of knowledge and services; unemployment and labour issues and changing lifestyles as some of the confounding factors in the fight against the HIV/AIDS in the country.

She said it had been estimated that by 2014, the number of AIDS orphans in Ghana would have reached 236,000 making the situation quite serious thereby demanding more community base and specific responses and the strengthening of lead agencies.

"Integration of psychosocial support and specific orphans and vulnerable children policies and policy guidelines to reduce stigmatisation would go a long a way to help," Ms Amekudzi said.

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