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25.08.2005 Health

MP calls for a relentless fight against HIV/AIDS


Sunyani, Aug. 25, GNA - Mr Godfred Otchere, Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health on Wednesday reiterated that HIV/AIDS continues to generate fear, misunderstanding and discrimination, and called for a relentless fight against it. He emphasized that people of all professions, creed, ethnic and social status need to ponder seriously on how it had been difficult for people to change their sexual attitudes in spite of the prevalence of the pandemic.

Mr Otchere, MP for Ayesuano, was addressing about 500 Midwives at their 5th Biennial General Meeting, which coincided with the 70th Anniversary celebration of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association at Sunyani, in Brong Ahafo.

The meeting was on the theme, "HIV/AIDS Global Pandemic - A Challenge for Midwives".

Mr Otchere said HIV/AIDS was a threat to national development and there was the need to desist from stigmatising and isolating its victims, to help minimize it's spread.

He expressed regret that the increasing infection rate of the pandemic was denying some children of their right to develop and play their roles as future leaders, saying, millions of them die prematurely as a result of infection through no fault of theirs.

Mr Otchere produced statistics showing that Eastern Region was leading in the country with more than six per cent HIV prevalence rate, followed by Brong Ahafo Region with four per cent.

Noting that nurses and midwives were at a greater risk with the pandemic, since they cared for the patients living with it, he also cautioned them to examine their own beliefs, values, assumptions and attitudes towards the pandemic.

Ms Kathlyn P. P. Ababio, National President of Ghana Registered Midwives Association said the association was committed to the programme on prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. She said 32 members had been trained in Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and on the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme and would soon be supported to start VCT Centres in their maternity homes.

The national President appealed to the government to peg new charges for antenatal care at 30,000 cedis per visit, 200,000 cedis for normal delivery and 300,000 cedis for assisted delivery to address discrepancies associated with remuneration in the service. Ms Ababio hinted that a sod-cutting ceremony had been performed for the construction of a three-storey multi-purpose Safe Motherhood Training Complex and appealed to the government, philanthropists and other spirited organizations to assist the association to complete the project.

The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Nana Kwadwo Seinti, expressed concern about the rate of the spread of the HIV/AIDS in the region and called on Midwives to help change the attitudes of people towards the pandemic.

He advised them to channel their grievances to the government for redress, adding, "NPP Government is a listening government and will always listen to the people".

Earlier in a welcoming address, Ms Elizabeth Adjei-Mensah, Regional Chairperson of GRMA revealed that the regional rate of the pandemic increased from 2.3 per cent in 2000 to 3.6 per cent in 2003, indicating an increase of more than 50 per cent in three years.

She appealed to well-meaning Ghanaians to support the government to combat the pandemic, since it was very alarming and would undermine efforts to achieve Ghana Vision 2020. The Regional Chairperson called on the government to support the establishment of voluntary, counselling and testing centres.