Regional News of Wednesday, 17 March 2004
Adibo (N/R), March 16, GNA - Mr Mohammed Asibi Azonko, the Yendi District Coordinating Director has urged Ghanaians to attach the same importance to HIV/AIDS educational campaigns as they do to political campaigns and the voters' registration exercise.
He said: "This is because the HIV/AIDS pandemic has become a universal problem, which threatens the very existence of the human race". Mr Azonko was launching an HIV/AIDS educational campaign at Adibo in the Yendi District of the Northern Region on Monday.
Centre for the Empowerment of Rural People 9CERP), a community-based organization operating in the district initiated the programme for its peer educators to sensitise the people of Adibo, Kpachiyili and Nakpachie, all in the Yendi District, on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Mr Azonko noted that without a healthy human resource the country cannot hope to achieve true democracy adding, "It is unfortunate that HIV/AIDS infection among the nation's economically active population is very high, a situation which calls for the active involvement of every Ghanaian in the campaign against the disease".
He acknowledged the tireless efforts of the government, the NGOs and CBOs, whom he said, were working in partnership to help stem the spread of the disease.
The District Coordinating Director urged the peer educators to bring the skills they have acquired to bear on the education of the communities to ensure a drastic drop in the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the area. He called on the people, especially the youth, to avoid indiscriminate sex and where possible, to abstain from sex until marriage.
Mr Jacob Dindiok Konlaa, the District HIV/AIDS Focal Person, announced that as at the close of last year, the Ghana AIDS Commission, through the Yendi District Assembly, had disbursed 115 million cedis to seven CBOs in the district in their campaign to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS. He noted that there is about 96 per cent HIV/AIDS awareness among Ghanaians but this differs from region to region.
He said: "This is the reason why there is the need for everybody to be involved in the campaign on the HIV/AIDS pandemic".
Mr Konlaa called on the peer educators to carry out their activities to achieve results and influence people to avoid indiscriminate sex and volunteer HIV/AIDS testing.
In a welcoming address, the Executive Director of CERP, Mr Osuman Issahaku called on the communities to create the enabling environment to facilitate the work of the peer educators.
He appealed to chiefs, opinion leaders and religious organizations in the district to get actively involved in the campaign against the pandemic.