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General News of Saturday, 18 February 2006

Source: GNA

Minister advises scientists not to dismiss herbalists

Kumasi, Feb 18, GNA - A suggestion has been made to Ghanaian scientists and researchers not to dismiss in any derogatory manner the claims by some herbalists that their treatment of People Living With HIV/AIDS(PLWHA) show positive results.

Major Courage E.K. Quashigah, Minister of Health, who made the suggestion said instead, scientists and researchers should strive to have the patience to bring such herbalists along, and subject their herbal preparations to scientific tests.

Major Quashigah was launching the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) HIV/AIDS Open Day organized by the university under the theme "Nipping HIV/AIDS in the Bud - The KNUST Approach" in Kumasi on Friday.

It was attended by a section of the university community including lecturers, students and workers.

The Sector Minister stressed: "Who knows, through that we could come out as the ones who have the solution to the problem and break the psyche that the Blackman is not inventive enough to solve his problems". Major Quashigah observed that currently 3,500 people identified as PLWHA in the country are being supplied with the retroviral drugs at the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals as well as the Atuah Government and Koforidua Regional Hospitals. He said what is now left is to keep track of their movements since some look healthy and do not show any signs of carrying the virus. Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoah, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), stated that the Commission had developed a revised National HIV/AIDS strategic framework in readiness for the implementation of the second phase of the AIDS programme, which takes off this year.

He said a key feature of the second phase which will last for five years is the pooling of resources by developing partners and Ghana Government which was not the case in the past. Professor Amoah said while some funds would be pooled, others would be earmarked for specific intervention activities. Professor Emmanuel Frimpong, Co-ordinator of the KNUST HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, said 300 students, known as Students Against AIDS whose mission is going to the various halls to create awareness about the pandemic were trained under the project. Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, called for more support for the AIDS project of KNUST from the GAC.