15.04.2005 Regional News

International Day of the Midwife launched

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Koforidua, April 15, GNA - This year's International Day of the Midwife was launched in Koforidua on Thursday, with a call on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to pay sufficient attention to and recognize the role midwives play in the provision of health care in the country. The Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Prof. Sakyi Awuku Amoa, who made the call, noted that, given the present circumstances where the country was losing most of its health professionals, particularly nurses, "we need to appreciate the remarkable contribution of our midwives to improved delivery of health services in the country."

The Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) would celebrate the Day on May 5, on the theme: "HIV/AIDS Global Pandemic, a Challenge for Midwives".

Prof. Amoa observed that if midwives in the country were well trained and supported, the womenfolk would receive the necessary assistance in the prevention of pregnancy-related complications. On the HIV/AIDS pandemic, he noted that, where 63 per cent of all infections were women and girls, it could be largely due to lack of adequate knowledge for prevention and control of themselves. Prof. Amoa said the GAC believed that midwives could provide sustainable care and support as well as offer prevention and control programmes on the HIV/AIDS campaign in their maternity clinics for women, hence it provided funds to the GRMA to train its members in the needed services.

He hoped the training would encourage all midwives to provide support to women, who attended their clinics to help make a difference in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah in an address read on his behalf, regretted that the increasing infection rate of the HIV/AIDS was denying children of their rights to develop and play their roles as future leaders as millions of them died prematurely or became orphaned as a result of infection or affection "through no fault of theirs". He referred to the national sentinel survey on the disease, which indicated that the Eastern Region was leading with 6 per cent in HIV prevalence rate and therefore, described the theme as timely and also the choice of Koforidua for the ceremony as appropriate.

Mr Barimah reminded the people that the consequences of the pandemic was not an issue for the victim and family alone, but for the community and nation, adding that, the time had come for all professions, creed, ethnic and social status to ponder seriously on how it was being difficult for people to change their negative sexual attitudes in order to live healthy lives.

He explained that the government was heavily subsidizing the cost of the anti-retroviral drugs for the treatment of people living with the HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) because of its high regard for the protection of the human resource for national development.

The Regional Minister regretted that the large number of various voluntary organizations working on HIV/AIDS intervention programmes had not succeeded in influencing behavioural change among the sexually active groups resulting in the continued rise in the infection rate among the people.

Mr Yaw Barimah urged the people in the region to embrace the National Health Insurance Scheme to obtain free medical care and asked members of the GRMA to enhance the image of their profession by being circumspect in their relationship with their clientele.

The President of the GRMA, Ms Kathlyn P.P. Ababio said, so far 113 members of the association had benefited from the training in topics including Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VCT), Behavioural Change Communication (BCC) and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) from the funds provided by the GAC, since 2001. According to her, they have counselled 5,360 adults and 71,555 youth on Adolescent Reproductive Health.

She appealed to the government for support in the scaling-up of their services to women, especially those in the rural areas. The Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Dr Oti Boateng, expressed concern about the recent Sentinel Survey report on the HIV/AIDS, in which it mentioned three sites in the Eastern Region namely, Koforidua, Agormanya and Fanteakwa out of the six sites in the country to have scored HIV/AIDS prevalent rate of over five per cent.

He, therefore, urged the people to make determined efforts to change their sexual behaviour towards reducing or checking the spread of the pandemic to save lives for the development of the region. Among those personalities present included the Queen mother of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Nana Yaa Daani. April 15, 05

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