Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, has now attained the highest Human Immune Virus (HIV) prevalence in the region.
With a rate of 3.4, Kumasi has now beaten its former leader in the region, Obuasi, which had experienced a drop from 4.2 in 2014 to 3.2 in 2016.
At the introduction of the New National Strategic Plan in Kumasi which was attended by stakeholders drawn from various government agencies, traditional authorities, security services and the clergy, the increase was attributed to the modernisation of funeral ceremonies in the metropolis among others.
One of the main factors to the increasing rate of the disease was the elaborate funerals in the metropolis where partying has been added to the ceremony which is supposed to be a solemn period.
Others are mining activities, men and women with multiple sexual partners, inappropriate condom use, stigma and discrimination, vibrant commercial activities and geographical location of the town.
Ashanti Regional Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ms. Olivia Graham, who made these known, also added that “the Commission is however, working hard to ensure a reduction of the prevalence rate.”
She said education and information about the disease had been intensified while appealing to traditional leaders to do something about the elaborate funeral ceremonies in the area.
She disclosed that a regional Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission operational plan has been launched through collaboration between the Regional Health Directorate and the Regional Coordinating Council supported by UNICEF.
The meeting was the first time the new Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ambassador Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, was being introduced to the region.
Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi took the opportunity to inform the stakeholders of the New National HIV AIDS Strategic Plan from 2016 to 2020 in the Ghana AIDS Commission Act 2016, Act 938.
She noted that the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 was the fourth generation strategic plan for the National Response.
By: James Appiakorang Jnr., Kumasi, Ashanti Region