Bunso (E/R), Sept. 17, GNA- The Minister of Health, Dr Kweku Afriyie, has observed that trends in the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate over the last five years did not suggest any significant decline in any regions of the country in spite of the tremendous awareness campaign mounted by the various civil society organizations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
He said government had responded to the threat of HIV and Tuberculosis(TB) by facilitating a multi-sectoral approach to planning, implementing and monitoring of appropriate prevention measures.
These measures were contained in a speech read on behalf of the Minister at the opening of the fourth national delegates congress of the Ghana Association of Biomedical Scientists(GABMS) on Thursday at Bunso in the Eastern Region.
The four-day congress is being organized under the theme: "The role of medical laboratory in HIV/AIDS and TB management".
Dr Afriyie gave the assurance that government would continue to provide financial and material support for the treatment of Sexually-Transmitted-Infections(STI) including AIDS and TB control programmes and for the HIV sentinel surveys.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo Mensah said Ghana recorded 52,000 new TB cases annually and out of that figure, about 26,000 people die.
He said TB was an "ancient disease" but it had now taken a worrisome dimension because of its becoming the bedmate of HIV/AIDS and therefore, called for joint efforts to fight the two diseases.
Dr Osafo-Mensah observed that unlike HIV/AIDS which could be avoided, TB could not because "every breath taken in puts one at the risk of acquiring the disease."
He observed that despite all efforts to control the two diseases, nothing could be achieved if medical laboratory scientists did not fully contribute their quota to the fight.
Dr Osafo-Mensah noted that the situation was so because the laboratory remained the focal point in the diagnosis of the two diseases and an error in the laboratory was likely to result in wrong diagnosis, treatment and probably death of the patient.
The National President of GABMS, Mr Clement Opoku-Okrah, attributed one of the main reasons for attrition among medical staff to frustration of junior staff due to arrogance on the part of senior medical staff. He called for team work among health staff and urged them to realize that whatever they do, the "patient is the one that matters most."
Mr Opoku-Okrah called on health staff to motivate one another and resolve to give hope to the up and coming new generation of health professionals.
He said documentation on the 200 acre land acquired by the GABMS at Amanfrom, near Accra, had been completed and the association was negotiating for a loan facility for the construction of an institute of biomedical science complex.
Mr Opoku-Okra said the association is also negotiating with Habitat for Humanity, an NGO commited to the provision of affordable houses to assist members of the association who would like to acquire their personal house on the site.
In a welcoming address, the Eastern Regional President of GABMS, Ms Francisca Dzata, called for the early passage of the Allied Health Bill. Sept. 17, 04