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26.01.2005 Regional News

National House of Chiefs launches AIDS project

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Kumasi, Jan. 26, GNA - Odeneho Gyapong Ababio II, President of the National House of Chiefs, has reminded chiefs of their obligation to salvage the country from the frightening threat of HIV/AIDS. He said since attitudinal change was the pivot of the fight against HIV/AIDS, chiefs who were the custodians of traditional values and had a key role in determining norms and shaping attitudes of people in society, had greater responsibility to join the national efforts to combat the disease.

This was contained in an address read for him at the launch of the National House of Chiefs Traditional Authorities Development Programme (TRADEP) HIV/AIDS project in Kumasi on Wednesday.

The project, which is an initiative of the National House of Chiefs, is the response of the chiefs to the incessant calls for traditional leaders to lead the crusade against the spread of the HIV/AIDS disease.

It is being sponsored by the Ghana AIDS Commission with an initial sum of 200 million cedis and would be piloted in two traditional areas in the northern and southern sectors of the country. Odeneho Gyapong Ababio said with the launch of the project, chiefs had offered to play a frontline role in the national crusade to combat the menace.

He appealed to traditional leaders to individually and collectively canvas in various ways to the government, private sector, NGOs and development partners to support the project in order to extend it to many traditional areas.

Togbega Gabusu VI, director of the project, said even though the chiefs had accepted the challenge to play a leading role in the fight against the disease, it should not be construed as taking over from the rest of the stakeholders.

The immediate implication, he said, was that chiefs were going to be at the forefront of mobilising the people to achieve the right response in the fight against the disease.

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