Sunyani, Sept. 25 GNA - HIV/AIDS is projected would be responsible for 28 percent deaths in the country by the year 2014, Mr. Yaw Adjei-Duffuor, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister at the weekend. He said the situation, would definitely lead to a decline in labour force and affect the national economy.
Speaking at the inauguration of Beauty in Virginity club in Sunyani under the theme: "Abstinence is the Best", the Deputy Minister noted that the pandemic increased from 2.3 per cent in the year 2000 to 3.6 per cent in 2003. Mr. Adjei-Duffuor stated that experience from other countries showed that the pandemic affects all aspects of society and all development sectors.
"Ghana has felt the impact on the health sector and is currently feeling the impact on other sectors such as education, industry, transport and agriculture", the Deputy Minister added. He noted that the pandemic had led to a fast increase in the number of orphans in the country and the situation was a great strain on the social system, in the provision of the needed care, support and supervision.
"The HIV scourge is getting more devastating in all the regions" he said, stressing that if the daily average rate of infection of 200 continued it would get to a point when whole families and communities could be wiped out. He said the Government in its determination not to allow the devastation to continue, with its negative impact on the economy and labour supply, would collaborate with relevant agencies to fight the spread of the pandemic.
Mr. Adjei-Duffuor expressed regret that in spite of the efforts being made by non-governmental organizations in checking the spread, the prevalent rate was still high and had not achieved the desired results due to apathy and disbelief of the youth about the existence of the pandemic. He called on parents to encourage their children to join the club and advised members to hold on to the ideals and principles of
Ms. Eva Lokko, Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation noted that the youth, especially the girls faced a lot of problems such as teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. She advised the girls to abstain from pre-marital sex and maintain their virginity till they get married to trusted and responsible husbands.
The Director General urged them to remain focused on their future careers and avoid illicit sex, which could result in unwanted pregnancies. Ms Lokko advised the girls to dress decently and not to put on dresses that could attract the attention of men and called on the boys to also join the club.
Mrs. Theodora Owusu Asubonteng, Executive Director of the club said the club, started in May last year with 20 persons had membership of 600 people, aged between eight and 28. She said the club aimed at educating members to maintain their virginity till they get married and to steer away from immoral behaviours.
Nana Yaa Nyamaa II , queen mother of Sunyani Traditional Area and patron of the club, urged parents to encourage their children to join the club and to be good role models to them, since "your children's future depends on you." He appealed to NGOs, District and Municipal Assemblies and individuals to assist the club for its sustainability.