General News of Sunday, 30 November 2003

Source: gna

AIDS orphans in the country now stands at 175,000

Kumasi, Nov. 30, GNA -There are now about 175,000 AIDS orphans in the country, the Reverend Kofi Boateng, Founder of the African Christians Home and Rehabilitation Centre, an NGO dealing with People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) stated at the week-end.

He said there were also about 600,000 children with mother to child transmission of the disease.

Speaking at the annual HIV/AIDS screening at Clowns Day celebration of MICRO'CARE Ghana an NGO in collaboration with the Animwah Medical Centre at Emina near Kumasi, Rev. Boateng said there were about one million HIV/AIDS positive cases in the country.

Giving the national prevalence rate, he said, the Eastern region has 7.9 percent, Western Region 5.1 percent, Greater Accra 4.1 percent, Ashanti and Upper East have 3.9 percent each, Brong Ahafo has 3.7 percent, Volta Region has 3.2 percent, Central and Upper West have 2.7 percent each and Northern region has two percent.

Rev. Boateng called for support in caring for the PLWHAs, describing as erroneous the notion that government was funding all NGOs and Community Based Organisation (CBOs) involved in AIDS programmes.

Mrs Agnes Appiagyei, the Chief Executive Officer of Animwah Medical Centre said the vision of her organisation was to ensure that quality healthcare was made accessible and affordable to all with emphasis on the rural people.

Apart of efforts to realise this vision she said, the centre undertakes a lot of programmes every year to give them the opportunity to have a closer and deeper interactions with their clients as well as deliver certain medical and social services free of charge.

Mrs Appiagyei said the picture of HIV/AIDS in Ghana was gloomy and quite unfortunate since most collaborative efforts and programmes in recent times all emphasised prevention of the neglect of infected HIV/AIDS patients.

She said to demonstrate the Centre's genuine concern for PLWHAs, Anidasuo Ne Nkabom Kuo, a benevolent society, has been established to work in partnership with government agencies and NGOs to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and to promote good health and welfare for the PLWHAs.

Mrs Ohene Anowuo Nsiah Ababio, a nutritionist at the Ashanti Regional Health Administration noted that there were practical issues to deal with in order to appreciate the plight of PLWHAs, adding that people designated as HIV/AIDS patients go through a lot of frustrating monument.