Traditional rulers in Upper West Region schooled on HIV/AIDS, TB, Maternal deaths
Traditional rulers in Upper West Region schooled on HIV/AIDS, TB, Maternal deaths November 23, 2009
Wa, Nov.23 , GNA – Dr. Kofi Issa, Deputy Upper West Regional Director of Health Service, has called for a change in sexual behavior to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases in the region.
He said no age group was safe from HIV/AIDS infection and that the reduction in the prevalence per cent of 3.3 per cent in 2007 to 1.6 in 2008 should not mislead people into assuming that the disease was no longer life threatening.
Dr. Issa was addressing an HIV/AIDS workshop organised for traditional rulers in the Upper West Region in Wa on Saturday. The Upper West Regional House of Chiefs organised the forum with sponsorship from the Ghana AIDS Commission to update its members on the menace of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and maternal deaths.
Dr. Issa called on traditional rulers and opinion leaders to champion the campaign against HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases to secure healthy communities.
“Let us not be only concerned about ruling the people, we must equally show concern about their health and welfare”, he said. He said 236,151 were living with HIV/AIDS in the region and called on the people to adopt positive lifestyles.
Dr. Issa appealed to the chiefs to put measures in place to ensure that people living with the HIV/AIDS disease were not stigmatized or subjected to insinuation and name calling.
Harmful traditional practices that have the potential of spreading HIV/AIDS infection among the people should also be discouraged. Dr. Issa told the Chiefs that Hepatitis was 100 per cent more infectious and fatal than HIV/AIDS and all must be worried about the emergence of the disease.
He said 39 per cent of people who donated blood at the Regional House Hospital in Wa were found to be hepatitis positive. The health authorities had started screening pregnant women for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, whilst HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis were also tested together.
Dr. Issa announced that 34 pregnant women had died from January to June and said about 40 per cent of the women who arrived at the hospital stayed less than 24 hours before they passed away. “This means that if 100,000 children were delivered, about 700 mothers would have died in the region”, he said.
He appealed to the chiefs to always prevail on their people to bring their women in labour to the hospital on time and “not to wait until they were “helpless”. Alhaji Taminu Zaid, Regional Focal Person on HIV/AIDS. urged the chiefs to discourage widow inheritance in their communities because the practice had been found be to a source of spreading of the disease.
He expressed worry about the claim by some herbalists have a cure for HIV/AIDS, which he said was misleading the people to live careless sexual lives. The Chiefs called for the reintroduction of the Information Services Department Vans to go round the communities to show films on HIV/AIDS to the people.
“Seeing the pictures of HIV/AIDS patients, by itself would cause individuals to management their sexual lives positively or take firm and informed decisions against indiscriminate sex”, the chiefs said.