Saturday, September 1, 2007
HIV/AIDS cases go up in Bongo District
Story: BENJAMIN GLOVER, Bongo
The Bongo District in the Upper East Region has experienced increased cases in HIV/AIDS infections.
From January to June, this year, the reported cases of HIV/AIDS stood at 48 as against 20 recorded between January and September 2006.
The District HIV/AIDS Focal Person, Mr. Eric Baah, disclosed this as at day’s workshop organized by the Bongo District Assembly and supported by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC).
Eighty participants, made up of chiefs, opinion leaders, Assembly members, women and religious groups, as well as persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), attended it.
According to Mr. Baah, who is also the District Budget Officer, all the affected persons joined PLWHAs in the district and were being supported by other organizations.
Some of the organizations offering support included the District Assembly, World Vision, Ghana, the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocese, as well as non-governmental organization (NGOs) which had received funding from the GAC.
Mr. Baah said some of the PLWHA acquired the disease as a result of some customs and traditional practices in the district.
He said there were a number of people who had tested positive, but due to stigma and discrimination, they had refused to join the association, adding “the consequence of this is very devastating”.
“There are a number of PLWHAs, orphans, vulnerable children in our communities, who are facing stigmatization from their family members, friends and the entire community. This situation is worsening the psychological, emotional and health conditions of the PLWHAs,” he emphasized.
Mr. Baah, therefore, expressed the hope that the workshop would help reduce the stigma and lead to a reduction in the pandemic in the district.
The Deputy District Co-ordinating Director, Mr. Mohammed Issahaku, said HIV/AIDS had moved from a health problem to a social one and therefore entreated the participants to contribute meaningfully to help curb the menace.
Some of the participants called for the organization of free and voluntary counseling to enable as many people as possible to undergo medical examination to know their HIV status.
They also called for intensive education campaign to sensitise the people to the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
Daily Graphic - Saturday, September 1, 2007 Page: 23