Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager at the National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) has appealed to the public to support People Living with HIV and AIDS in the communities and help reduce stigmatization and discrimination.
He stressed on the need to intensify the education on prevention until a cure or vaccine was found to prevent new infections or reduce the number of HIV positive patients.
“We are calling on civil society groups, chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, to help to talk about it in the community so that we prevent HIV infections,” Dr Ayisi Addo stated at the second Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office project dubbed, “GNA-Tema Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day,” seminar at Tema.
The event is a platform rolled-out for state and non-state actors to address national issues and also served as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development.
The seminar is also to promote the growth and the recognition of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.
Dr Ayisi Addo recommended that an enabling environment be created to motivate people to know their status.
By creating that environment, there would be no finger pointing at those who have declared their status or would they be looked down on.
The NACP Programme Manager noted that unlike other conditions, HIV was cumulative, so anyone who tested positive will be adding to the numbers and over time it will become overwhelming.
He also advised HIV patients on treatment to adhere to their schedules, because as long as they took their medication, the virus was suppressed, undetectable and cannot be transmitted and when they withdrew, the virus would come back again.
“The message now is there is treatment so even if you know your status, it is not a death sentence,” he said.
He noted that whereas the face of HIV had changed, the problem still persisted and there were conditions to continue to stay healthy even when one tested positive.
Dr Ayisi Addo encouraged people to access testing and not wait to fall sick before visiting the hospital, stating that there were about 380,000 people living with HIV in Ghana but not all of them were aware.
In addition, he said, people living with HIV had the same life expectancy as all citizens and even because of the treatment.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Regional Manager, Ghana News Agency, Tema, said the Agency’s Regional Office had shaped itself as a vanguard for industrial communication and a catalyst for change to promote national development.
He said with Tema as an industrial nerve of the country, it was reasonable for the GNA regional office to position itself to become the frontline of industrial communication to advance the country’s growth.
Therefore, he noted that the regional office of the Agency had developed systematic pillars which pragmatic journalism hinged on; including a mechanism to deepen the working relationship with its stakeholders, to ensure that both the media and the corporate world worked towards national development.
He said, in marketing, a product must be promoted through various mediums; hence the Agency which was strategically placed as a credible news organization must project itself in the world of business and to deepen its relationship with its stakeholders for mutual benefit to advance its prospects.
Mr Ameyibor disclosed that, as part of efforts to deepen national cohesion and promote the cultural heritage of Tema and its environs through diversity, the GNA regional office was packaging traditional news as it had already engaged the Ada Traditional Council and Kpone-Katamanso Traditional Area in that regard.
He said the office had begun the “Tracking of Development Projects” initiative in some selected districts as part of a crusade to enhance accountability and deepen grassroots participation in local government.
“The project seeks to improve policy management and decision making systems in the country to ensure that policy analysis processes, impacts and the feedback systems necessary for effective executive decision making are adhered to,” he added.
The second GNA-Tema Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day seminar was attended by the National Commission for Civic Education, GBC Obonu FM, and other officials from state and non-state institutions.