Apam (C/R), Nov. 24, GNA - Mr Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister, on Tuesday urged the people in the region to use the celebration of the World AIDS Day to re-launch the campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
He said such a crusade should focus on issues that would help people to change their sexual behaviours and lifestyles to reduce the region's AIDS prevalence rate to the barest minimum. According to Mr Edumadze, the 2003 HIV Sentinel report indicated that Central Region's prevalence rate increased from 2.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent, making it the second highest region in the country while that of Cape Coast moved from 2.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent, making it the second highest town in the country.
These indications were contained in a speech read for the Minister at the celebration of the Central Region's World AIDS Day at Apam. It was under the theme, "Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS - Protecting Women and Girls from the Spread of HIV/AIDS". Mr Edumadze said the government was doing its best to address some of factors that accounted for the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS.
He noted that women were mostly infected with sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS due to their inappropriate sexual relationships with men.
Mr Edumadze said since high poverty rate among women partly accounted for the situation, the government as part of its poverty reduction programme, had disbursed more than 20 billion cedis as loans to women's groups in the region for income generating activities. Mr Edumadze advised the beneficiaries of the assistance to invest in viable economic ventures so that they could earn additional income to support themselves and their families. More
Mr Edumadze expressed concern about the failure of some district assemblies to release one per cent of their shares of the Common Fund to support HIV/AIDS programmes.
to know that, with the region's current HIV/AIDS situation, we have marshalled all resources, both human and financial in order to bring the rate down". Mr Edumadze, however, commended the Gomoa District Assembly for deciding to allocate two per cent of its revenue for HIV/AIDS activities and urged other assemblies to set aside more funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The District Chief Executive for Gomoa, Madam Joyce Aidoo expressed dissatisfaction that despite the huge sums of money being spent on HIV/AIDS programmes, the disease continued to spread at an alarming pace and advised the people to change their sexual behaviour. According to her, information from the Apam Catholic Hospital showed that it recorded 764 HIV/AIDS case between 1993 and September 2004, out of which 520 were females and 244 males. The Chief of Apam, Nana Adu Ephraim X, expressed worry about the high incidence of HIV/AIDS cases in the region and urged opinion leaders to get involved in the fight against the disease.