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22.09.2004 Regional News

"By-elections" spread AIDS in Wa Municipal Assembly

By GNA

Wa, Sept. 22, GNA - Mr. Godfrey Bayong Tangu, Wa Municipal Chief Executive on Wednesday attributed the high rate of HIV/AIDS in most communities of the Wa Municipal Assembly to widowhood inheritance popularly known as "by-elections" in the region.

He said although it was part of the customs of the people in the region to inherit the wives of their late brothers, care should be taken to investigate the deaths of their relatives before going ahead to marry their wives.

Mr. Tangu made this statement at Wa when he opened a one-day forum for stakeholders in HIV/AIDS campaigns in the Wa Municipal Assembly. "We need to respect tradition, but with the spate of diseases such as HIV/AIDS it is very dangerous to continue marrying our brothers' wives after their death without finding out the cause of their death." The Municipal Chief Executive appealed to non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations engaged in HIV/AIDS campaigns to develop strategies that would be attractive to people to learn lessons from.

Mr. Tangu said since 2002, the Wa Municipal Assembly had disbursed a total of 990 million cedis to various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) for education, prevention, causes and other kinds of campaigns on HIV/AIDS.

Mr. William Niyuni, Wa Municipal Focal Person on HIV/AIDS said the forum would, among other things identify, collaborate and co-ordinate activities of all stakeholders share experiences and map-out strategies and develop a framework for the establishment of a data-base and strategic plan.

He said awareness on HIV/AIDS in the municipality was more than 90 per cent yet most of the people were still hostile to HIV/AIDS patients, which stakeholders would do well to address.

Mr. Niyuni appealed to the public to embrace the counselling and testing process, which would enable them know their status and how to take care of themselves, in the subsequent times. Speaking on the role of NGOs and CBOs in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Alhaji Tamimu Zaidu, Regional Focal Person on HIV/AIDS said it was necessary to have periodic fora to avoid duplications in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He urged the stakeholders to delve deep into the programmes in their areas of operations to come out with good and acceptable figures, which would be used as spring-boards for support. "You need to constantly work hand in hand with the media to get your messages across because if you do a good job and is not heard anywhere it is of no use," he concluded. The forum attracted about 80 participants from NGOs, CBOs and institutions.

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