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20.08.2004 Regional News

Police Peer Educators to educate colleagues on HIV/AIDS

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Koforidua, Aug 20, GNA - Police personnel in the Eastern Region would be provided with condom purses during operations under the Regional Police Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)/HIV/AIDS Control Programme.

Under the programme, 120 Peer Educators have been trained to sensitise their colleagues, relations and the public on HIV/AIDS prevention.

The Regional HIV/AIDS Co-ordinator, Togbe Dadzawa III, announced this when he briefed a nine-member Ethiopian official delegation, which visited the Eastern Regional Police Command at Koforidua on Thursday, as part of its five-day study tour of the Ghana Police HIV/AIDS Control programme.

The delegation comprised police officers and officials from the Justice Ministry, Prisons Service and the National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Offices of Ethiopia.

Togbe Dadzawa said the programme was aimed at protecting police personnel from HIV/AIDS to enable them perform their duties efficiently. He said the Peer Educators would create awareness on the dangers of the disease among personnel of the police and other security agencies. Togbe Dadzawa advised couples to be faithful to their partners, attend voluntary counselling and to undergo testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.

He appealed to individuals and organisations to donate funds to the Programme to enable it to intensify its educational campaign.

The Programme Officer of the Ghana Police AIDS Control Programme, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Jones Blan Tari, said with the end of the financial support for the Programme from the Family Health International, the Ghana AIDS Commission, had decided assist but warned the regional co-ordinators to ensure accountability in the use of funds.

The leader of the Ethopian delegation, Mr Tsegaye Asres, who is the Programme Co-ordinator of the Family Health International/USAID, Ethiopia, said the country's HIV/AIDS Control Programme was focusing on preventing the spread of the disease by educating the people on the need for behavioural change and the provision of home-based care and support.

He commended the Ghana Police administration for perusing effective measures to control the spread of the disease, adding that, the delegation would take the experience they had gained to their country. On the supply of condoms to police personnel in Ethiopia, Mr Asres said though some people would reject the initiative on religious and cultural beliefs, it was one of the surest ways of preventing the spread of the disease.

The Deputy Eastern Regional Police Commander, Alhaji Mahama Amidu, said even though the supply of condoms might be condemned by some people, "It is better to change culture to protect the human resources of the nation than to let them die."

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