Source: Ghana Web
The Ghana Chapter of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), in collaboration with the Ghana AIDS Commission and UT Foundation, on Friday organised a free health screening exercise for the people of Gbawe and its surrounding areas in Accra.

The exercise, which formed part of the “Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Keeping Mother Alive” advocacy campaign, was to intensify the HIV reproductive health education in the Greater Accra Region.

Residents of Gbawe and its environs, who trooped to the forecourt of the Gbawe Chief’s palace, were screened for breast and cervical cancer, syphilis and also tested for HIV.

The beneficiaries were also counselled on reproductive health, while free condoms were distributed.

The health screening exercise marked the launch of the advocacy campaign, which was performed by the First Lady, Dr Lordina Mahama, She called on men to join in the education and encouragement of women and young girls to test for HIV.

She said together with men, the country could eliminate AIDS and prevent new HIV infections, stressing that when men understood and appreciated women’s health issues, they were able to better support their partners to ensure safer and better reproductive health behaviour at home.

Mrs Mahama stressed that prevention was the key to saving lives, while the development of the country depended on the health of the people.

HIV & Women

For her part, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Angela El-Adas, said currently in Ghana, HIV disproportionately affected women, who together with children, formed about 70 per cent of all HIV cases.

She said in 2013, 2,400 children under 15 years were newly infected with HIV with only one quarter of them having access to effective treatment.

Dr El-Adas said additionally, there was a huge gap in addressing the reproductive health needs of women as each year, more than 3,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost half of these women died, while another seven per cent would develop breast cancer.

On Dr Mahama and her role in the campaign, Dr El-Adas observed that among her peers on the continent, she was recognised for her passion and commitment to empowering the vulnerable and marginalised in society, as well as ensuring the health of women through advocacy for the prevention and early detection of HIV, breast and cervical cancers.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, explained that the campaign was designed to tackle reproductive health issues that mostly affected women and children, which hitherto were not given prominence.

Mother-to-child infection

Nii Laryea congratulated the First Lady on championing the cause towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and other reproductive health issues in the country.

The Municipal Chief Executive of the Ga South Municipal Assembly, Mr Jerry Akwei Thompson, said the assembly, over the years, had been making tremendous efforts to ensure that the people had access to good health care.

He said as part of the effort, the assembly had constructed and inaugurated a maternity health centre at Aplaku, a clinic at Oblogo and was currently constructing an emergency accident centre at the Ga South Municipal Hospital.

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