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13.12.2004 Health

TB - major cause of death among PLWHA

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Accra, Dec. 13, GNA - The Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Monday said tuberculosis (TB) continued to be the number one cause of death among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
It said one out of every three HIV/AIDS patients developed TB and called for redoubled efforts to provide care and support services for PLWHA.
Dr Nii Akwei Addo, Programme Manager, GHS, said at the monthly health promotion talk that in year 2003, 630 were screened for HIV/AIDS, out of which 145, who tested positive, were put on Antiretroviral Drugs (ARD). "This figure came from screening done in the three facilities designated for HIV/AIDS cases including Agomanya in the Eastern region," he said.
He said the GHS would ensure the provision of Antiretroviral Drugs (ARD) at subsidised costs for PLWHA, adding that it would also equip all regional hospitals with ARD for accessibility.
Dr Addo said the Government had also made budgetary allocation for the procurement of ARD at very subsidised cost.
Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director General, GHS, said Ghanaians should not be complacent at all in dealing with the HIV/AIDS menace, which currently stood at 3.6 per cent as the prevalent rate. He called for intensified education through innovative advertisements in the media that would effect behavioural change.
He noted that advertisements on HIV/AIDS needed to be re-echoed continuously through various media, "since the war is continuous." He stated that there would, however, be a national accreditation policy and criteria to regulate the importation, sale and distribution of ARD and therapies, so as to ensure quality health care for consumers. Prof. Akosa said there were plans to expand Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centres under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) to encourage more patronage.
He said HIV/AIDS still rated high among the youth and urged the youth to act responsibly by abstaining from pre-marital sex.

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