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01.12.2005 Regional News

Volta region celebrates HIV/ADIDS Day

By GNA
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Ho, Dec. 1, GNA-Mrs. Joan Awunyo-Akaba, Executive Director of Future Generations International (FUGI), a Ho based NGO has described the celebration of the World HIV/AIDS Day in the Volta Region as "window-dressing".

" No seriousness has been attached to the real issues on the ground. Our people are suffering and we only meet to talk", she said. Mrs. Awunyo-Akaba said this at a stakeholder's forum at Ho to mark this year's World AIDS Day.

The forum brought together heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to share ideas on how to tackle the menace in the region.

Mrs. Awunyo-Akaba said there was "everything wrong with the region" in the way the problem of HIV/AIDS was being tackled resulting in the increase in the rate of infection.

She said at the moment the region has no functional Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) Centre, adding that the Care and Support system was also being left to NGOs, which were not resourced. Mrs. Awunyo-Akaba was of the opinion that politicians and government officials had failed to attach the necessary importance to the Day saying, " none of our leaders is here and no awareness creation went on".

She therefore suggested the formation of a regional HIV/AIDS Committee as a decentralized system of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) to facilitate the work of NGO's in the region.

Mrs. Awunyo-Akaba said the regional committees, knowing the peculiarities of the problem on the ground, could better coordinate the activities of the NGO's and support strategies to "truly reach a wider target since the use of existing decentralized systems is not effective".

Mr Bright Boafo Kornu, Regional HIV/AIDS Focal Person however, said there existed a regional HIV/AIDS Committee, which "basically advises the Regional Minister and coordinate HIV/AIDS activities". He announced that the GAC was establishing a Multi- Sectoral HIV/AIDS Programme (M-SHAP), where NGO's would be given funds according to their proposals and how judiciously they used previous moneys given them.

He said the committee was considering the commissioning of Researchers to find out what was causing the current increase in the rate of infection in the region.

Mr Gregory Amenuvegbe, Regional Coordinator for the Regional Health Directorate who gave the overview of HIV/AIDS situation in the region said the prevalence rate of the region was 3.5 per cent while that of the Ho Municipality was 5.8. per cent.

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