15.04.2005 Regional News

HIV/AIDS figures in Eastern Region keep rising, but.....

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Koforidua, April 15, GNA - The Eastern Regional Co-ordinator of the National AIDS Control Programme, Dr Sampson B. Ofori, has expressed concern that, despite several activities being pursued to control the spread of the HIV/AIDS, the Eastern Region continued to record rising figures.

He said, while the region recorded 6.1 per cent prevalence rate in the 2003 national sentinel survey, the figure increased to 6.5 per cent last year, while the national figure dropped from 3.6 to 3.1 per cent. Dr Ofori was speaking at the closing ceremony of a Trainer of Trainers workshop of 24 persons drawn from ten districts in the Eastern Region on home-based care for persons affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. The workshop was the last of a series that had been organized by the Eastern Regional HIV/AIDS Committee over the past three months for a total of 165 trainers from the 17 districts in the region and sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Embassy through the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It also formed part of the District Responds Initiative (DRI) project, which aimed at scaling up the care and support component for people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Dr Ofori said last year's HIV/AIDS sentinel survey results called for the intensification of efforts to help bring the rising trend of the disease in the region under control.

He noted that, the results of the survey, however, showed a drop in the prevalence rate in New Juaben Municipality from 8.5 per cent in 2002 to 6.2 per cent in 2003 and 5.4 per cent last year. Dr Ofori called for special focus on the HIV/AIDS prevention among pupils and those of the school going-age so that by the time they grow, the community could have a generation of low HIV infection.

The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Susana Mensah, called on District Chief Executives and the District Co-ordinating Directors to give the project the urgent attention and support it deserves. She urged the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to co-operate with the district assemblies to ensure the success of the project. Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyirah, Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, called for inter-sectoral approach in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and the provision of care and support to those affected by the disease.

The Eastern Regional HIV/AIDS Evaluation and Monitoring Focal Person, Ms Golda Asante, said the project involved the building of the capacities of districts, communities and individual homes to provide better care and support services to people affected by the disease. She said the project, which would be funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy for three years, also aimed at reducing stigmatisation, denial and discrimination against people affected by HIV/AIDS.

Ms Asante said the Embassy would be providing 57,000 dollars to each of the 17 districts in the region under the project to strengthen the capacity of health institutions, community mobilization and for support of people living with HIV/AIDS. April 15, 05

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