18.05.2005 Regional News

Show commitment to fight against AIDS - Akobeng

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Apam (C/R), May 18, GNA - The Gomoa District Focal Person on HIV/AIDS, Mr. Eric Akobeng has expressed concern about the lack of commitment on the part of some people and organisations involved in the campaign against the spread of the pandemic.

He noted that some people had taken the HIV/AIDS campaign as a money making venture and were demanding money from the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and other donor agencies before embarking on programmes.

Mr Akobeng noted that in some cases even chiefs who had sworn to respond to any call of their people had made financial demands before attending HIV/AIDS programmes.

The District Focal Person was speaking at a workshop on HIV/AIDS at Apam for chiefs, representatives of Non-Governmental and Community-Based Organisations (NGOs/CBOs), Assembly Members and Heads of Departments. It was to review the performances of the organisations and to formulate strategies to curb the spread of the pandemic. Mr. Akobeng stated that organising talks on HIV/AIDS in schools did not involve big expenditures that CBOs and NGOs should expect GAC to fund.

"Let us be a little patriotic, for after all we are protecting our own lives and those of our brothers and sisters," he said. The Focal Person urged the organisations to focus on care and support for people living with the disease. Ms Joyce Aidoo, Acting Gomoa District Chief Executive said GAC released had 770 million cedis from the Ghana AIDS Response Fund for five NGOs and 16 CBOs for HIV/AIDS activities in the district over the past two years.

She said the District Assembly was considering increasing the one per cent allocation of the Common Fund for HIV/AIDS activities to two per cent this year. She called for partnership and co-ordination to achieve the desired results in the fight against the disease. Mr. Fred Oscar Abban, Presiding Member of the Assembly asked the organisations to be mindful of how they packaged HIV/AIDS messages and urged them not to "Demonises" the disease. "Adopt friendly approaches that can easily get your message to the audience," he stated.

Mr. Emmanuel Amokuandoh, Executive Director of Allies in Development Partners, an NGO offering care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS and AIDS orphans in the district called for more support for victims of the disease to make them comfortable. The Reverend Father Augustine Essel, Chaplain and the Head of the Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Apam Catholic Hospital, commended the management of the health facility for picking the bills of HIV/AIDS patients running into several millions of cedis.

Obrifo Ahunako Ahor Ankobea II, Omanhene of Gomoa Akyempim appealed to citizens of the area to help in the fight against the pandemic. Katakyi Nyanful Krampah X, Omanhene of Gomoa Ajumako appealed to parents to live up to their responsibility towards their children. The two paramount chiefs promised to enact by-laws to check activities, which promoted HIV/AIDS in the district. 18 May 05

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