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01.01.2005 General News

Akosa blows whistle on child molestation by fake tourists

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Accra, Jan 1, GNA- Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, on Friday expressed concern about the activities of paedophiles and homosexuals, who in the guise of tourists preyed on innocent children and spread HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

He said the lack of legislations to regulate such immoral activities by people who took advantage of the tourist potentials of the country was increasing the burden of diseases.

Prof. Akosa, who was speaking at a symposium on: "The Burden of Disease and Wealth Creation" at the 56th Annual New Year School in Accra, said between 10 and 15 per cent of the pregnancies in the country were carried by teenagers, implying a high level of sexual activities among teenagers, leading to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The School is being organised by the Institute of Adult Education of the University of Ghana (UG), on the University Campus, Legon is on the broad theme: "Wealth Creation for Accelerated National Development: Imperatives Challenges "

Prof. Akosa said the country's disease burden was attitudinal, referring to the unsanitary conditions that spread diseases like malaria, which accounts for 40 per cent of hospital attendance, adding that 18 per cent of childhood deaths were due to malaria infections. The Director-General said Ghana had no social housing policy that would ensure that people slept in well-ventilated rooms to stem the spread of tuberculosis.

Prof Akosa said defective vehicles were allowed into the country, leading to the pollution in the environment by exhaust fumes, which spread upper respiratory infections and precipitate asthma among children.

The use of petroleum products that were saturated with lead affect the intelligent quotient of people, he said, adding that people who did not eat iodated salt reduced brain development by 15 per cent. He therefore, advocated a universal iodisation of salt, and further called on Ghanaians to eat more fruits to increase their immunity against diseases.

Prof. Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said Africa carried about 70 per cent of the of HIV/AIDS burden.

He said in Ghana, the prevalence rate increased from 2.6 in 1994to 3.6 per cent in 2003, while the peak age group was among people between 25 and 34 years.

Prof. Amoa debunked the notion that the Commission was showering funds on non-performing Non-Governmental Organisations engaged in activities to combat the pandemic, and said there were enough regulations in place to ensure accountability in the use of fund allocated for HIV/AIDS programmes.

Professor Docea Fianoo, formerly of the Department of Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, UG who chaired the symposium asked parents to take active interest in the activities of children, especially when they were in the adolescent age to insulate them from sexual promiscuity that could lead to HIVAIDS.

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