Health News of Sunday, 3 November 2013
Eight hundred and fifty-two children were infected with HIV in 2012, Dr Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) disclosed on Friday.
She said 60 percent of the HIV cases were among women, and the children were infected through mother-to-child transmissions.
Dr El-Adas announced this at the launching of the “Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and Keeping Mother Alive” campaign by the First Lady Mrs Lordina Mahama in the Brong-Ahafo Region, in Sunyani.
The Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), in collaboration with the GAC is undertaking the campaign, aimed at preventing, treating and mitigating the impact of HIV, breast and cervical cancers as well as supporting orphans and vulnerable children.
Dr El-Adas stressed the importance of empowering women to take charge of their reproductive health needs, by creating awareness and providing them with education on prevention.
She said the global plan to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015 could be achieved if all stakeholders joined the crusade against stigmatization of people living with the disease.
Mrs Mahama, who is also the First Vice President of OAFLA, said HIV pregnant women who did not involve themselves in PMTCT services had 40 percent chance of transferring the virus to their unborn child.
She said currently there were 235,982 people living with HIV with about 60 per cent being women and 11.7 per cent being children.
“It is injustice for innocent new born babies to be infected with HIV,” Mrs Mahama lamented and entreated infected pregnant women to ensure that they went through PMTCT services to protect their unborn babies.
The First Lady said since cervical and breast cancers were the leading causes of death among women, she had stepped up education on the disease, which could be treated when detected early.
She emphasised that more than 3,000 women in the country were diagnosed with cervical cancer annually while about 2,900 cases of breast cancer were also diagnosed annually.
Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister appealed to the general public to join the HIV and AIDS education to help minimize its spread.