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18.08.2004 Regional News

Motorbike for community HIV/AIDS sensitisation

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 18, GNA - Mr Justice Essuman, Head of Sales and Marketing of Sneda Motors Limited, on Wednesday joined the global fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic with a donation of a 20 million cedis FYM Motorbike for sensitisation programmes within some communities in Accra.

Mr Essuman told the Ghana News Agency after presenting the 125 CC Chinese made bike to the Living Faith Ministries International of Adenta for HIV/AIDS sensitisation and Evangelism; that "the fight against the menace is a struggle by mankind for survival.

"No responsible member of a community can pretend to be unconcerned about the rapid spread of the killer virus", he said.

Mr Essuman, who is also a Deacon of the Church, said the fast spread of the infection and its devastating effect made it imperative for all and sundry to join in efforts to check the menace as it threatened to render the whole of mankind an endangered species.

He said with individual and collective concern about the menace, the fight should extend beyond the ceremonial fun-fare and find expression in very practical efforts and measures that would help check the spread of the virus.

He noted that the prevalent rate among the youth made it imperative to step up HIV/AIDS education among them in view of their high sex drive.

The Sneda Motors, Marketing Officer reminded religious institutions; nongovernmental organisations and community based organisations of the need to intensify the education on the pandemic.

He also appealed to parents, civil society groups, clubs and associations to encourage their members to go in for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT).

Mr Essuman stressed that ignorance about HIV/AIDS was not in the best interest of the country.

"If you are negative you will live a more responsible life, while those who test positive, will re-organise themselves and serve as counsellors in their communities."

He advised religious bodies engaged in the fight against the spread of the infection to base their educational campaign on conditions prevailing in the communities.

Mr Essuman said religious bodies were the best suited to accomplish the task because they were familiar with conditions that promoted sexual promiscuity in their communities.

"If, for instance, it is funeral wake keepings that are encouraging the spread of the disease, find ways of getting the opinion leaders to do something about it," he advised.

The Living Faith Ministries Deacon urged church leaders to use part of their time to sensitise their congregation on the HIV/AIDS pandemic noting: "If sex accounts for 80 per cent of HIV/AIDS infections and Ghana is predominantly a Christian country then they would have failed in their preaching against immorality."

The Reverend Francis Armoah, Head Pastor of the Living Faith Ministries, who received the motorbike, advised governmental and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) engaged in the crusade against indiscipline not to focus their campaign solely on the youth but broaden it to include adults too.

He said since indiscipline was a phenomenon associated with all age groups, limiting the campaign to only the youth would not achieve the desired impact.

"Indiscipline is not limited to a specific or selected age group nor does it have any barriers, but rather, it cuts across all segments of society and age groups", he stressed.

Rev. Armoah observed that adults were as guilty as the youth as far as attitude and appearance were concerned and should, therefore, be equally educated to uphold good morals.

"Apart from being influenced by the bad conduct of their peers, the youth also adopt the indecent lifestyles of the older generation and the filthy language used by some adults", he noted.

Rev Armoah said the use of pulpits alone to preach against immorality and indiscipline was not enough and commended the Mr Essuman for the donation.

"The time has come for churches to go beyond that and also use the various fellowships and youth groups in the church as platforms to educate their congregation on good morals."

He said for churches to make any meaningful impact in the area of good morals and conduct, it was imperative for them to avoid ad hoc approaches to the issue of discipline and rather make education on it a permanent feature on all their programmes.

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