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Health News Thu, 14 Feb 2013

Don’t camp HIV and AIDS patients, Prayer camps advised

Owners of prayer camps and spiritual healing centres have been cautioned against keeping HIV and AIDS patients in their premises and urged to refer them to appropriate health facilities for proper care and attention.

Dr Gloria Asare, in a response to a question at the just ended Regional forum on the National HIV/AIDS, Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI) Policy, expressed unhappiness that such ailing patients were kept at such facilities until their terminal stage before they were transferred to the hospitals.

She said though patients had the right to choose between orthodox, traditional and spiritual method for treatments, it is imperative that they were assessed by trained HIV and AIDS clinicians rather than any other means.

Dr Asare said some traditional medicines had the potency of relieving patients of the pain and symptoms of the disease but did not actually cure or kill the virus.

The National HIV/AIDS and STI Policy is to provide guidance to other HIV-related policies, interventions, and programme design and implementation in Ghana.

Madam Mary Asante, Policy Manager of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said the goal was to halt and reverse the incidence of new infections with the ultimate aim of achieving zero new infections.

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She said the policy would eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, reduce HIV associated morbidity and mortality to ensure the continued survival of men, women, and children infected with the virus.

Ms Asante said the new policy would also help to provide multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary guidance on coordinating programmes and resources for the implementation, research, monitoring and evaluation of HIV, AIDS, and other STI interventions.

It would again ensure that HIV and AIDS prevention and control is pursued actively from a gender-sensitive perspective.

Other issues raised by participants included the frequent shortage of the Anti-Retroviral drug and female condoms and the collapse of the focal group contact among others.

Ms Estelle Appiah, a Legal Consultant who spoke on legal issues concerning the new policy, said no employer had the right to sack an HIV and AIDS employee adding that neither could a landlord or landlady evict patients on the grounds of his or her health conditions.

Source: GNA