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25.06.2004 General News

Proliferation of HIV/AIDS NGOs raises concern - DCE

By GNA

Zabzugu {N/R), June 25, GNA - Alhaji Yakubu Bukari, Zabzugu/Tatale District Chief Executive has noted that the proliferation of HIV/AIDS NGOs is raising concerns about the sincerity of some of these organisations formed to propagate the message against the spread of the pandemic. He said a number of people had expressed concern and suspicion about the activities of some of the NGOs and community and faith-based organisations, claiming: "These organisations are only out to enrich themselves under the pretext of trying to combat the spread of the disease".

Alhaji Bukari was speaking at a one-day sensitisation forum for opinion leaders and other stakeholders on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and care and support for people living with the disease at Zabzugu on Wednesday. The Organisation for Community Assistance and Development (OCAD), an NGO, organised the forum. It was on the theme: "The impact of culture and religion on the campaign against HIV/AIDS".

Alha`ji Bukari called on Ghanaians to report people who are using NGOs as fronts to solicit funds from the Ghana AIDS Commission for their selfish ends to the appropriate authorities for disciplinary action to be taken against them.

Alhaji Bukari however, underlined the need for NGOs to get involved in the fight against the spread of the disease, saying, "We should not lose sight of the fact that the behavioural change that HIV/AIDS campaigns seek to bring about is one that people have taken a long time to cultivate. "It is only a vigorous and sustained effort that can let them do away with such behaviour and this calls for the support of the NGOs", he said.

The DCE said HIV/AIDS has now become a development issue and urged the people to take preventive measures to protect themselves against the disease. He said: "It is because of the importance government attaches to the health of the people that it is introducing the National Health Insurance scheme to replace the cash and carry system to make health more cost effective and accessible to the people. He said to ensure a smooth implementation of the scheme in the district the District Assembly had built a six-room office block at a cost of 200 million cedis to provide accommodation for the management staff of the scheme.

Mr Alhassan Amadu, Northern Regional Population Officer educated the people on how the disease is contracted and transmitted and the preventive measures to safeguard oneself. Mr Amadu noted that the success of the crusade against HIV/AIDS lies largely on how far individuals and groups agree to positively shape their sexual behaviours. Mr Abdulai Abdul-Rahaman, Executive Director of OCAD said his outfit would focus its HIV/AIDS campaign activities on the remote communities where most of the NGOs had not been able to reach.

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