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Regional News of Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Source: GNA

French NGO to assist HIV/AIDS patients

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA - Esther, French Public Interest Group is to sign a partnership agreement with the Ghana Government to exchange expertise and experience in the area of HIV/AIDS treatment. The agreement that would be signed in March, this year, would pave way for French volunteer medical personnel to serve in hospitals in the country.

Addressing newsmen in Accra, Mr. Bernard Kouchner, President 'Medecins sans Frontiers' said the organisation was operating in eight African countries with Ghana being the first Anglophone country to benefit.

He said 400,000 Esther volunteers were working in 44 French hospitals with medical and psycho-socio experts and other civil society groups offering counselling to people living with AIDS.

Mr Kouchner said it was expected that 51 experts would begin the programme in the country at the Okomfo Anokye Teaching hospital, which had been earmark for the pilot exercise.

He said the project was designed to have a trickling down effect on rural communities who hardly benefit from the HIV/AIDS treatment. "This will be done through effective collaboration with NGO's, district health centres and other players at the grassroots level."

Mr Kouhner said Esther was committed to its long-term approach of providing quality care for people living with AIDS, promote access to health care and help improve their social, economic and environmental status.