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Regional News | Jan 26, 2005

Cultural officers join the anti HIV/AIDS crusade

GNA

Wa, Jan. 26, GNA - A social worker on Tuesday suggested to the government to ensure that songs conveying messages on HIV/AIDS are designed and taught in schools as part of the curriculum to help combat the spread of the disease.

Mr. Thomas Kapiri said competitions in story telling and writing should be encouraged at all levels of the country's educational structure with specific messages on the disease.

He made the suggestion in a presentation on the "impact of songs and story telling in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS" at a one-day workshop on the pandemic for cultural officers in the Upper west region at Wa.

It was jointly organised by the National Commission on Culture and the Ghana AIDS Commission with the aim of using cultural values as tools for combating the disease.

Mr. Kapiri mentioned some progressive cultural taboos in the region that promoted decent lives and acted as checks and balances in the way of doing things.

These include the prohibition of having sex in the bush, imposing sanctions for fornication and the customary norm, which mandates a man to dowry only one wife for his son. Dowrying of any extra wife becomes the sole responsibility of the son.

"All these measures are interventions to curb promiscuity and control people's lust and desire to possess many women and check the spread of HIV/AIDS he stated.

Dr. Felix Ahorsu Medical Director of the Wa Regional Hospital, said a 30- million cedi HIV/AIDS Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre would be established in the hospital by the middle of the year.

He noted that increasing trends and patterns of the pandemic had made the traditional methods of prevention inadequate and therefore the use of cultural tools to combat the disease had become very necessary.

Mr. Mark Dagbee, Regional director of the Centre for National Culture called for the abolition of widowhood inheritance, saying it had the potential to wipe out a whole family if one of the spouses was infected with the disease.

He observed that "the free-for-all" relationship with the opposite sex associated with the funeral rites of an elderly in communities in the region was also a recipe for the spread of the pandemic.

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