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26.01.2006 Regional News

Ghana Post launches HIV/AIDS and TB essay competition

By GNA

Accra, Jan. 26, GNA - Ghana Post in collaboration with the Ghana AIDS Commission, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ghana Health Services on Thursday, launched a national essay competition on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).

The competition, aimed at enhancing education and creating awareness on the devastating spread of the infection and the disease and its impact on socio-economic development, is opened to students at the basic, secondary and tertiary levels.

Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said it was important that the youth were educated on the current local and global trends of the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB. He said the current HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 3.1 per cent in Ghana and a striking figure of one new infection occurring every six seconds, while an infant was infected through mother to child transmission every 90 seconds were fearful revelations that called for urgent action. There were three different sets of essay questions each for the different levels and that for tertiary level are: "HIV/AIDS is preventable, but TB is curable. Discuss. HIV/AIDS and TB - What are their implications on national development? How do we protect the human rights of those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and TB? Competitors could answer all or any one of them.

"What is the role of the student in the support and care for the people living with HIV/AIDS?" "What are some of the measures that can be put in place to reduce the rate at which HIV/AIDS is spreading among the youth?" And "Is HIV/AIDS a perception or reality?" for the secondary level.

The questions for basic level students are: "It is better to abstain from sex than the use of condoms in the prevention of HIV/AIDS". Do you agree? "How can we support and care for people living with HIV/AIDS?" And "HIV/AIDS is affecting individuals and communities. In what ways can one prevent the spread of the disease?"

Prof Awuku-Amoa commended the National TB Control Programme for making available 80,000 dollars as sponsorship package for the competition and called for wider participation by the youth, as they were the hardest hit persons among the vulnerable groups.

He further urged the youth to change their lifestyles and stay away from foreign cultural influence as well as peer pressure that often led them to practise certain social vices like smoking, drinking and armed robbery.

Mr Kofi Dua Adonteng, Managing Director, GP, explained that the competition was also part of a series of initiatives of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) to assist Postal organisations in Africa to come up with business strategies that would ensure viability in the face of competition and dwindling mail volumes.

He asked the youth to take part in the competition not only for the sake of the prizes at stake, but also to enhance their research and writing skills and increase their knowledge on current global issues. Prizes made up of mobile phones, books and a game on HIV/AIDS were awarded to 10 winners of last year's stamp design competition on HIV/AIDS and TB.

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