17.09.2004 Regional News

HIV/AIDS poses big threat to women -Poku-Adusei

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Fomena (Ash), Sept 17, GNA - The Deputy Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, has called on Ghanaians to critically look at the threat the HIV/AIDS poses to women in the country.

"We need to look at the threat that HIV/AIDS poses particularly to women because of their biological make up and the serious gender dimensions", he stressed.

Mr Poku-Adusei made the call at the third annual conference of the Obuasi diocesan branch of the Christian Mothers Association (CMA) of the Catholic Church at Fomena.

The statistics at the end of year 2002 show that of the total 64,591 HIV/AIDS cases recorded, 39,381 were females while 25,211 were males".

The Deputy Minister expressed worry about the rate at which the pandemic was creating orphans in the country.

"The new dimension of the disease is the creation of a rapidly growing orphan population in the country. At the moment, statistics reveal that more than three million children have lost both or one of their parents to HIV/AIDS and the vast majority of these live in sub-Saharan Africa", Mr Poku-Adusei said.

He urged the Christian mothers to be concerned about the trend and take appropriate steps to protect their families and communities against the disease.

The Deputy Minister observed that the promotion of gender equality and equity in opportunities was not an option but an obligation for the country.

Mr Poku-Adusei, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bekwai, said Ghana had reached a stage in its development where overlooking women's needs could only be detrimental to its economic advancement.

He said women constituted about 52 percent of the country's 18 million population yet statistics of women in politics and decision-making revealed a major gender imbalance with only 19 women in the 200-member parliament.

In addition, there were only nine women ministers as against 68 men, whilst women make only 16 per cent of the Council of State. "The statistics should serve as a wake-up call first to the women themselves to take their own destiny and the destiny of this country into their hands", Mr Poku-Adusei stressed.

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