Regional News of Fri, 27 Jun 20030

HIV/Aids Cases On the Rise in Kwahu

THE RATE of HIV/AIDS infection in the Kwahu area has reached alarming rate with the two main hospitals in the area, Kwahu Government at Atibie and Nkawkaw Holy Family, recording fresh cases in short intervals at the beginning of this year more than two and three years back which rates were less than 40 per cent of the current rate.

The Holy Family hospital has already recorded 78 new cases from January to May, this year with Kwahu Government hospital recording 57 cases.

Last year, the Holy Family hospital recorded a total of 146 cases and Kwahu Government hospital also recorded 121 cases.

The situation has been described by health personnel as very alarming, compared to the size of catchments areas of the two hospitals.

These statistics were given by head of HIV/AIDS control unit at the Holy family hospital, Mr. Evans Osei at a function organized by the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation (GSMF), one of various organizations fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country.

Osei said the number could be more since many affected residents preferred attending hospitals outside the area to protect them from any social stigma or ridicule that often visited on those affected by close relations.

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He urged the people to protect themselves against the disease and adhere to all the education being offered by various organizations since the disease is real and has no cure. He also called on society to accept the support HIV/AIDS victims or patients to prolong their lives.

An assistant technical officer of GSMF, Dickson Ahorbu, said his organization has decided to target a group of people whose nature of work makes them vulnerable to the disease to enable them to protect themselves and educate others.

He said the Nkawkaw function was organized to educate drivers, passengers and traders at the lorry stations since by the nature of their work, they come into contact with many people and could easily acquaint themselves with them which might lead to unprotected sex.

Ahorbu said GMFS has 28 branches or what they called as 'HUBS" throughout the country engaged in similar activities.

The Kwahu South district monitoring and evaluation focal person on HIV/AIDS, Mr. Charles Ashalley Djane, said the mission of the assembly is to enhance development but it could not sit down for the people, especially the youth, which could be used to achieve its aim, killed by HIV/AIDS.

He said a survey conducted by the assembly to ascertain the causes of HIV/AIDS contraction revealed that commercial activities, funerals, wake-keeping, misconception of many people about the disease and others are the main cause of contracting the disease.

To this end, he said, the assembly has earmarked one per cent of its common fund on HIV/AIDS educational activities.

The assembly recently sponsored the Kwahu Students Union to educate the public against the pandemic. It also sponsored 'Emaa Nkomo" programme on GTV where an HIV positive carrier spoke to the people for them to know the reality of the disease.

He said the Ghana AIDS Commission has also assisted four Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and 11 community-based organizations (CBOs) to educate the people against the pandemic.

The chairman for the function, Mr. Rockson Kwame Adofo, commended GSMF for their desire to educate the driving public and hoped that it would go a long way to fight the disease.

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