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17.08.2004 Regional News

Ministry to tackle HIV/AIDS at border towns

By GNA

Shai Hills (G/A), Aug. 17, GNA - The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is to undertake a series of programmes on HIV/AIDS in towns around the borders as part of its District Response Initiative Programme.

The Ministry has already organised workshops for the entire 110 District Chief Executives aimed at equipping them to deal with the pandemic.

The Sector Deputy Minister, Capt. Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (rtd), announced this at the opening of an eight-day meeting on HIV/AIDS Community Capacity Enhancement Training Programme for some 50 participants drawn from all over the country at Shai Hills in the Dangme West District.

The workshop being organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry and the Ghana AIDS Commission, aims at building the capacity of the participants who are expected to go into the communities to work at the grassroots level. The Deputy Minister urged the participants to launch out into areas where the population was high and dense to help sustain the fight against the menace.

Mr Alfred Salia Fawundu, Resident Co-ordinator of UNDP, said there were 720,000 people living with the disease in the country out of which 400,000 were in need of urgent treatment.

He urged society to do away with stigmatisation to ensure that more people embraced the idea of voluntary testing.

Mr Kwame Tetteh-Korli Agban, Dangme West District Chief Executive, expressed concern about the fact that a huge chunk of monies was being channelled into expensive workshops and transportation allowances while people living with the disease were left out of resource allocation. Mr Mike Gizo, the NDC Member of Parliament for Shai-Osudoku, said Ghanaians should embrace the idea of going in for regular check-ups, especially for HIV/AIDS since this would help them to adopt healthy lifestyles.

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