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10.06.2005 Regional News

Assembly to pursue groups cashing on HIV menace


Somanya (E/R), June 10, GNA - The Yilo Krobo District Assembly has indicated its resolve to "religiously pursue" individuals cashing in on monies meant for HIV/AIDS programmes in the district to enrich themselves. The assembly said it would not sit unconcerned when people, "taking advantage of the rampaging HIV in the area and sometimes with its endorsement receive large funding from donor agencies only relocate elsewhere to enjoy their ill-begotten booty."

Sub-Lt Christian Tetteh (RTD), the Yilo District Chief Executive, made it clear that organizations that received its endorsement would now have to account for every pesewa received from donor agencies. He was speaking at a one-day durbar on the infringement on the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAS) at Somanya in the Eastern Region on Thursday. The durbar was organized by the Ghana Chapter of the African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters (CAPSDH) at which it made donations totalling seven million cedis for the upkeep of the 45 identified PLWHAS living in the Somanya and its surrounding areas. The donations included food and drugs and a cheque for two million cedis.

Sub-Lt Tetteh expressed concern at the extent to which some non-governmental organization (NGOs) have been exploiting the HIV problem in the Krobo area for self-serving reasons, cautioning that all such people would be located and flushed out. He, however, acknowledged the hard work and efforts by 34 Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and two orphanages in the area that had helped to bring down the HIV prevalence rate in the district from a peak 9.3 per cent to 7.4 percent last year.

Sub-Lt Tetteh called for a re-doubling of efforts to bring the rate further down, noting that without such concerted efforts, not much dividends could be realized from campaigns to attract investors to the area.

In an address read on his behalf, Mr Yaw Barimah, the Eastern Regional Minister, described as "apologists of democracy" people who violate the protection of the rights of HIV/AIDS patients. Dr Edmund Delle, President of CAPSDH, Ghana, appealed to PLWHAS to muster courage and declare their condition so that they could be cared for "instead of dying silently in shame." He said there was nothing shameful about being an AIDS patient as there was no such feeling with diabetes and other dreadful diseases.