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21.12.2005 Health

Ghanaians to keep fight against AIDS promise

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Ashaiman, Dec. 21, GNA - Ghanaians were on Monday urged to keep their promise to pursue the fight against AIDS for the protection of the nation's human resources.

Mr Chris Azumah, Deputy Co-ordinating Director of the Tema Municipal Assembly made the call when he delivered a speech at the first annual HIV/AIDS awareness and sensitisation seminar organised by the Worldwide International Youth Organisation (WIYO) a non-governmental organisation at Ashaiman.

Mr Azumah said: "We all have a promise to keep, a promise to pursue the fight without retracting, a promise to protect the human resource of the nation, a promise that, we will collaborate in a concerted effort and work to address the devastating impact of the pandemic. A promise that all intervention activities should be focussed on dealing with critical issues of concern and a promise that all of us will be fully committed to participate in the national fight against the epidemic" should be continued.

He said in view of all the promises Ghanaians had to keep towards ensuring a total victory in the fight, the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in collaboration with other stakeholders, had developed a reused national HIV/AIDS strategic framework to provide the basis for implementation of the second phase of the national response and the Multi-Sectoral HIV/AIDS Programme (MSHAP) for the next five years. He stated that, a key feature of the second phase was the pooling of resources by the development partners and government, which aimed at bringing them together in a collaborative funding arrangement for the implementation of the national response.

"MSHAP sub-project activities will be funded on the basis of proposals that focus on priority intervention access such as vulnerable groups including in and out of school children, high incidence and high risk areas" he said.

The Deputy Co-ordinating Director said Ghana was among the nations most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, which posed a major developmental disaster for all less developed countries, particularly in Africa. Ghanaians must therefore remind themselves of the changing face of the epidemic and re-dedicate themselves to join in the fight to bring it under control.

Mr Azumah said HIV/AIDS posed a major challenge to the nation's development because it was capable of cutting short the lives of most productive citizens.

"It is straining the already over-burdened health facilities, and separating families and loved ones from one another. It still remains a threat to people of all ages," he added.

Mr Herbert K Mensah, former Director, Department of Social Welfare, who chaired the function said, Ashaiman had the most growing population in West Africa and was therefore the right place to organise HIV/AIDS sensitisation programmes.

He said the programme would provide everybody the opportunity to learn about the deadly disease in order to get involved in the fight. Madam Augustina Andoh of the Fevers unit of the Tema General Hospital said people's conception of getting infected through wearing of second hand clothes was not true.

She, however, urged buyers of second hand clothes to wash and iron them before using in order to kill any virus.

She urged all to join in educating their peers about the pandemic to avoid its spread and the general public to give victims of AIDS social support, especially AIDS orphans.

Ms Salome Nkansah, Executive Director of WIYO said the organisation aimed at educating the youth on HIV and to assist victims with the provision for shelter, food and clothing. 21 Dec. 05

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