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06.06.2005 Regional News

VEEP's wife launches foundation to combat HIV/AIDS

GNA

Tamale, June 6, GNA - Hajia Ramatu Aliu Mahama, wife of the Vice President, has launched a foundation to facilitate the combat of HIV/AIDS in two communities in Tamale Metropolis. Ramatu Foundation, which will collaborate with the Ghana AIDS FUND and the HIV/AIDS Campaign Project, will operate in the Vittin and Dakpema Electoral areas.

The Foundation, shall operate under the slogan: "Help crush HIV/AIDS and AIDS Kills" and will among other objectives, combat the stigmatisation and discrimination against People living With HIV/AIDS (PLWAS) in the two communities and provide for their needs. Hajia Ramatu Mahama said halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and eventually kicking it out from Ghana was achievable.

She noted that the decline in the national prevalence rate from 3.6 per cent in 2003 to the current 3.1 per cent was good news for the country but cautioned people not to be complacent.

"Let us continue to work hard to make Ghana an HIV/AIDS-free country," she said. Ramatu Mahama expressed the need for people to be encouraged to undergo voluntary counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS.

Alhaji Abu-Bakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister who chaired the occasion, observed that it was only when people acknowledged the task of combating the HIV/AIDS virus that " we can be sure of preventing our generation from extinction".

Dr Elias Sory, Regional Director of Health Services advised the people to be wary of the services of quack doctors and traditional circumcisers popularly called "wanzans" who often used unsterilized tools and thereby spreading the infection rate.

He urged the people to show love and compassion to the PLWAS, saying: " By so doing, others... will be encourage to come out to announce to the public about their HIV/AIDS status". Dr Sory said very soon the two public hospitals in the region would be administering HIV/AIDS drugs to the PLWAS while three health centres would be established to provide drugs for pregnant women in order to prevent the infection of their babies. 6 June 05

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