‘Support pregnant women with HIV test kits, drugs’

pregnantAshanti Regional Coordinator of the National HIV and AIDS Program, Dr. Thomas Agyarko Poku, has underscored the need for an uninterrupted supply of drugs and Human Immuno Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) test kits for pregnant women and children.

Consequently, he proposed that pregnant women living with HIV and AIDS positive should be put on medication to prevent their unborn babies from contracting the disease.

Dr. Agyarko Poku bemoaned the situation where there was always shortage of drugs and pregnant women left on their own until six to eight months before being put on medication.

And situation he said   put the unborn babies in danger.

He noted that targets   could be set but achieving them was the main problem due to the lack of commitment towards ensuring the availability of drugs and test kits in various facilities in the country.

Dr. Agyarko Poku made these observations during an HIV and AIDS sensitisation workshop for journalists in the Ashanti region.

About 60 journalists were taken through HIV and AIDS reporting, basic facts about HIV and AIDS, and the current situation of the disease in Ghana.

The workshop was organised by a non-governmental organisation, Bukarson Health Foundation.

The workshop, according to the organisers, was necessary because of how fast the disease was eroding the economic gains of the country.

According to the HIV and AIDS Sentinel report, about 2.7 million people were infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa alone within 2014, out of this number, 70 per cent were females.

The report shows that Ghana’s prevalence rate stands at 1.3 per cent with Eastern region having the highest prevalence.

But, unlike Ghana, youth between the ages of 15-24 years from some countries in West Africa were mostly infected.

Dr. Agyarko Poku pointed out that prevention remained the major tool in fighting against the spread of the disease in Ghana.

He, however, lamented that Ghana could not put HIV and AIDS patients on medication due to the lack of resources and ‘technicalities.’

Press Attaché to the United States Embassy in Ghana, Sara V. Stealy, for her part said that Ashanti region should be a priority in the National Response to HIV and AIDS.

Mrs. Stealy said the statistics gives credence to the need for such a workshop to be organised periodically to sensitise the media so as to help in curbing the spread of the disease.

“Truly, the importance of the media in helping to fight the disease cannot be over emphasised,” she stated.

Executive Director of Bukarson Foundation, Listowell Yesu Bukarson, also on his part regretted that journalists in Ashanti region have relaxed their focus on the HIV and AIDS disease, expressing fear that the prevalence rate of the pandemic could rise again.

He asserted that nobody would enjoy their write-ups and radio/television programs if people contract the disease as a result of the lack of information and education, especially on the disease.

“It is time we moved journalism to another level and stopped the 100 per cent focus on politics while we are losing our loved ones to HIV and AIDS due to the lack of information and education,” he said.


Source: Ghana/todaygh.com/JAMES APPIAKORANG JR, KSI, A/R

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