Let’s embrace all despite HIV status- Ameyibor

Mr Francis Ameyibor, the Executive Director of Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult), has urged Ghanaians to create a society that treats people living with HIV with dignity, respect, and compassion.

He emphasised a need for education, support and policy changes to combat stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

Speaking at a sexual reproductive health conference in Accra, Mr Ameyibor proposed strategies for creating a supportive environment in schools, including education and awareness, support systems, confidentiality and inclusive policies to ensure Ghana broke barriers and built a society that embraced everyone, regardless of their HIV status.

The conference was organised by the Women’s Commission of the Association of Computing Students (ACS) of the Ghana Communication Technology University.

It was on the theme: ‘Breaking the Stigma: Empowering the Youth through STD Awareness.’

Mr Ameyibor said: ‘For too long, people living with HIV have faced discriminati
on, prejudice, and fear, leading to social isolation, low self-esteem, and poor health outcomes.’

‘But we can change this narrative. We can create a society where people living with HIV are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion.’

He called for self-education on HIV/AIDS, pointing out that, ‘HIV is a medical condition, not a moral failing. It’s transmitted through bodily fluids, not casual contact. Let’s dispel harmful myths and misconceptions.

‘Second, let’s use inclusive language. Avoid terms like HIV victim or AIDS sufferer. Instead, let’s say persons living with HIV or individual with HIV.’

‘Third, let’s support those affected. Listen to their stories, offer emotional support, and advocate their rights.

‘Fourth, let’s promote universal access to healthcare, including HIV testing, treatment, and care.’

Mr Ameyibor called for the creation of safe spaces for people to share their experiences without fear of judgment and engagement in awareness campaigns to combat stigma and promote acceptance.

‘Let’s support organizations working to address HIV-related issues. Let’s remember that people living with HIV deserve respect, love, and dignity.’

‘Together, we can break barriers and build a society that embraces everyone, regardless of their HIV status.’

Mr Richard Peter Yalley, Senior Nursing Officer in Charge of Public Health, TB and HIV Coordinator, Ga West Municipal Health Directorate, advised against unprotected sex, which could lead to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, with dire consequences as infertility, spontaneous abortion, and premature birth.

He noted that HIV attracted social stigma due to infertility and economic consequences and stressed that abstention from sex was the best protection from HIV.

‘Only a consistent and correct use of condoms can do a dual protection from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.’

‘You need to wash your hand well before wearing a condom, don’t use your teeth,’ Mr Yalley advised.

Rev Kenneth Ayeh Danso, Head, Strategic Informat
ion Unit, National AIDS and STI Control Programme, said about 330,00 people in Ghana were HIV positive.

‘Seventy per cent of the people know they have the disease, but 30 per cent don’t know they have it,’ he said.

He advised that people should go for HIV testing, but make sure to go for counselling before testing.

Rev Danso said HIV was not the end of the world and urged people with the infection to continue with their medication, exercise rightly, eat well and maintain their social interactions to ensure longevity.

Ms. Ethel Serwa Aidoo, Women’s Commissioner of ACS, urged society to advocate the rights of people living with HIV AIDS, saying; ‘Tomorrow it may be your turn.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

About 300 eye patients undergo free surgery at Sunyani SDA Hospital

About 300 patients suffering from eye-related disease are undergoing free surgery at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in the Sunyani Municipality.

The Hospital, in collaboration with the National Cataract Outreach (NCO) Programme with support from the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), is conducting the five-day surgery from Monday June 10 to Friday June 14, 2024.

Beneficiaries are mostly drawn from the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Bono East Regions.

Dr. Louis Oteng-Gyimah, an eye surgeon and the head of the Head of the Eye Unit of the Hospital, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, said a team of 45 specialists were conducting the surgeries.

They comprise ophthalmologists, opticians, optometrist, ophthalmic and General Nurses, he added, saying they were from the Akwatia St. Dominic Hospital, Techiman Holy Family Hospital, Drobo St. Mary’s Hospital.

‘We are determined to ensure that patients with eye related diseases, especially cataracts, have their sight fully re
stored,’ Dr Oteng-Gyimah indicated.

He added the patients would be screened and those with serious eye problems would undergo the surgery free of charge, saying so far about 70 patients had undergone the surgery.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Qatar Charity Commissions 250Sqm Clinic and Borehole in Wawasa, Agona Swedru

Qatar Charity, an international non-governmental organization, has commissioned a equipped clinic and a borehole with a 5,000-liter overhead tank in Wawasa, Agona Swedru, in Agona West of the Central Region.

Mr. Ismail Laary, Project Manager of Qatar Charity, who led the commissioning alongside local dignitaries, including sheiks, chiefs, and municipal health directors on behalf of the Director of Qatar Charity Ghana, reiterated Qatar Charity’s commitment to supporting rural communities in need of health facilities and other amenities.

He also highlighted the role this newly established health facility would play to enhance the quality of life and overall well-being of the local population by appreciating the dignitaries for donating the land for clinic.

Mrs. Bertha Attah, Municipal Health Director, applauded Qatar Charity for the impressive health facility and assured her departmental support for its operation and maintenance for sustainability.

She pledged to convert the new clinic into a health centre
for curative services while the old facility would operate as providing preventive health services because of the densely populated case-load.

Mr. Bashiru Saeed, Municipal Finance Officer, and representative of the Municipal Chief Executive praised the project as a timely and crucial intervention for the community’s health needs.

He commended Qatar Charity for the significant facility along with provision of safe drinking water, which he said would greatly enhance health services in this most vulnerable population.

Mr. Bashiru on behalf pf Municipal Chief Executive, also pledged to provide 24/7 security and proper maintenance for the facility in collaboration with other stakeholders and donated GHS 1,000 as seed money for maintenance.

He acknowledged the efforts of founding fathers of Nana Khadija School, like Sheikh Nasir and Sheikh Shartut, whose collective efforts drove the project’s goals.

Sheik Jawara, Central Regional Chief Imam of Ahlu Suna and management member of Nana Khadija School, provided a
brief history of the facility and praised Qatar Charity for their contribution.

Sheik Jawara also commended the nurse in charge of the old facility for her dedication and sacrifices, urging the school management and other stakeholders to maintain the new facility.

The other dignitaries at the event included the Chief Imam of Ahlu Suna, Sheik Jawara; Chief Tahiru Daafi V, Chief of Old Zongo and head of Agonaman Zongo Chiefs; Chief Alhaji Bashiru of Yalwa Zongo; and Issah Gyamfi, Nkosuohene of Zongo and entire community expressed their gratitude to Qatar Charity, vowing to manage and maintain the new facilities properly.

The Qatar Charity’s new clinic and borehole are essential for good health and for achieving national goals and objectives.

It significantly contributes to international targets such as the Millennium Development Goals by ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their geographical boundaries, have access to healthcare services in Ghana.

Above all, the project represents a significant st
ep towards improving health services in the area, and a best example of the community participatory approach, where community and all other stakeholders are ready to provide full support and maintenance for its existing, new and ongoing projects.

Source: Ghana News Agency

NHIA and NIA to issue Ghana cards for children under fifteen years

National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the National Identification Authority (NIA) have collaborated to register children from six to 14 years to provide them with official identification and nationwide healthcare.

The registration exercise, which is to begin on June 10, 2024, would see centres established in schools nationwide to facilitate the process.

‘This initiative strives to enhance the youth’s access to crucial healthcare services while simultaneously easing their involvement in various socio-economic activities that mandate official identification,’ the statement said.

The collaborative efforts between the two government agencies underscore Ghana’s commitment to streamlining administrative processes and broadening the reach of social services.

The statement, copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said the joint registration would contribute to a more inclusive society by emphasising the vital role of healthcare access and identity recognition for the Ghanaian youth.

Mrs. Louisa Atta-A
gyemang, Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Operations, NHIA, said the significance of the partnership was to extend healthcare access and lay a foundation for a more inclusive and empowered community.

Dr. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, Executive Secretary of National Identification Authority, added that the Ghana card function as a pivotal instrument for identity verification and access for youth in their day-to-day activities.

It encouraged active involvement from parents and guardians, urging them to ensure their children partake in the registration to obtain the crucial Ghana card to secure their pathway to essential healthcare services.

‘This initiative not only signals a progressive step towards comprehensive healthcare coverage and national identification for Ghana’s youth but also highlights the government’s dedication to fostering a more inclusive and empowered society where every child’s rights and recognition are safeguarded,’ the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

World No Tobacco Day: Government commits to protecting children from interference from Tobacco Industry

The Deputy Minister for Health Alexander Akwasi Aquah says the government will protect children from interference from the tobacco industry with strict enforcement of ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Speaking at an event to mark the observation of the World Tobacco Day in Accra, the Deputy Minister expressed concerns about the targeting of children by the tobacco industry through deceptive marketing tactics.

‘Children are vulnerable, they are lured by colorful packaging, misleading flavors, and

manipulative marketing campaigns. We cannot, and will not, stand by for the tobacco industry to prey on their curiosity in their attempt to create a new generation of addicted customers,’ he said.

Mr Aquah said Ghana would ensure comprehensive public education campaign to heighten awareness about the detrimental effects of tobacco use and equip communities with the knowledge to discern the deceptive tactics employed by the tobacco industry.

‘By empowering Ghanaians to become vocal advo
cates for tobacco control, we can safeguard the well-being of future generations and shield them from the predatory practices of tobacco companies,’ he said.

Tobacco is a significant threat to health and sustainable development. Tobacco causes premature death and preventable disease that results in high health costs and economic losses, widens socioeconomic inequalities, and impedes progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr Delese Mini Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, in a speech read on her behalf, said tobacco was one of the foremost perpetrators of preventable deaths worldwide, claiming over eight million lives annually.

She said tobacco usage was a public health crisis that spared no one, particularly children, with its insidious marketing strategies preying on the youth, ensnaring them in a web of addiction and suffering.

‘From clever product designs to pervasive marketing endeavors, they’ve set their sights on a new genera
tion of tobacco users: Our youth. They infiltrate our schools, communities, and even our social media platforms, all with the aim of cultivating a new legion of smokers,’ she said.

Dr Darko said just one hour of shisha use was equivalent to smoking about 200 cigarettes, underscoring its heightened risks.

‘The Vision for Alternative Development’ a nin-governmental organisation, in a statement to observe the Day, stressed the need for Ghana to pay attention to nicotine addiction and E-cigarettes.

It said the highly addictive nature of nicotine, particularly in e-cigarettes and vapes, posed grave threats to young people.

It said the products, often marketed as safer alternatives, had no proven public health benefits.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against their use, especially among youth.

The NGO said it would continue to strongly advocate ban of the products, stating that the current regulatory inconsistency where the Ghana Revenue Authority taxed e-cigarettes while the FDA confiscated
them highlighted the urgent need for clear, unified policies of the product.

Research on ‘An investment case for Tobacco Control in Ghana’ shows that more than 6,700 Ghanaians die every year due to tobacco-related illness, accounting for three per cent of all deaths in the country.

According to the research in 2019, tobacco use in Ghana resulted in around 668 million Ghana cedis (GHC) in economic losses, an equivalent of 0.2 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It includes GHC172 million in direct health-care expenditures to treat tobacco-related illness, tobacco-attributable mortality valued at GHC 371 million, and GHC 126 million in reduced workplace productivity from absenteeism and presenteeism.

The 2024 World No Tobacco Day, was observed on the theme: ‘Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference’.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bishop Tackie-Yarboi donates medical equipment to the neurosurgery unit, KBTH

The Founder of Victory Bible Church International, Bishop Nii Apiakai Tackie-Yarboi has donated four new monitors and brackets to the Neurosurgery Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

The donation is a fulfillment of his pledge to the Neurosurgery Unit in 2023 after undergoing surgery at the Unit.

Presenting the items, Mr. Yarboi said the additional monitors would help the unit monitor more patients after surgery, ensure an increase in the number of operations performed and save more lives.

He expressed gratitude to the Doctors and medical Team who operated on him and thanked them for their dedication and commitment to saving lives.

‘Your work is very delicate and requires a lot of dedication. I am grateful for your attention to details which ensured the success of my surgery procedure, God bless you for allowing your expertise to be used to save lives,’ he said.

Bishop Nii Nabi Nii Apiakai Tackie-Yarboi is a clergyman, author and teacher of the Bible, whose Ministry spans almost four decades

He is the President of the Victory Christian College, a ministerial training school that provides training, mentorship, and ordination for Christian ministers.

He has also served as a member of the National Executive Council of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC).

Source: Ghana News Agency

Breast milk better than formula; prevents jaundice

Pediatricians at the University of Ghana Medical Centre have advised lactating mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children with breast milk instead of formula until they are six months old.

This is because breast milk is much better than baby formula milk -it is natural, but formula is produced from cow.

They said breast milk was also healthy, helped the immune system and prevented babies from getting serious infections, jaundice, brain, and liver damage.

‘Breast milk is much better than formula. Formula is cow’s milk irrespective of the branding and the processing that goes into it… It is still cow’s milk.

‘So, we always want the mothers to breastfeed because it is healthy, it helps the immune system and prevents babies from getting serious infections. It also prevents them from getting jaundice from those infections,’ Dr Emmanuel

Amoah, one of the Pediatricians, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.

He said this during the Neonatal Jaundice Awareness Month celebration at the UGMC.

The even
t was held under the theme: ‘Newborn Jaundice and Exclusive Breastfeeding: Midwives and Nurses lead’.

It was to create awareness about neonatal jaundice.

Neonatal Jaundice is a common condition in newborns, characterised by a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes due to elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Dr Amoah noted that one of the factors that caused jaundice in newborns was the lack of exclusive breastfeeding at the preliminary stages of a child’s life.

He said exclusive breastfeeding helped the baby to obtain the optimum nutrient and the hydration he/ she needed to excrete the excess bilirubin and prevent the jaundice infection.

‘When you breastfeed early enough, you give the baby the optimum nutrition and hydration he needs to be able to handle jaundice that may build up during the first week of life. When you initiate breastfeeding quickly, the children can excrete bilirubin in their urine,’ he said.

He, therefore, advised mothers to choose the best for their children by breastfe
eding instead of feeding the children with formula.

He also asked that mothers be supported both at health facilities and home to breastfeed their newborns.

Dr Vanessa Ann Vanderpuye, another pediatrician at the Centre, said out of the 600 babies admitted at UGMC in the past four months now, about 280 were diagnosed with jaundice.

She said though there were other factors that caused jaundice in children, most of the cases recorded at the Hospital were because of the lack of breastfeeding.

Source: Ghana News Agency

KGL Foundation making significant contribution to improve public health in Ghana

Mr Nii Annorbah-Sarpei, the Programmes Manager, KGL Foundation, says the Foundation through its consistent organisation of health screening and blood donation exercises, is making a significant contribution to improving public health across Ghana.

He said the KGL Foundation was firm in its mission to empower Ghanaians and build a better future for all.

Mr Annorbah-Sarpei was speaking on behalf of Mr. Elliot Dadey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation, at a health screening and blood donation exercise held at the Chief’s Palace Durbar Grounds in Adukrom.

The event witnessed a remarkable turnout, with residents and students from Nifa Senior High, Adukrom Presby Secondary Technical, J. Knol Vocational and Technical Institute, and Abiri Presby Vocational and Technical Institute actively participating in the exercise.

The Programmes Manager said early detection of health conditions could significantly improve outcomes and lead to healthier, more fulfilling lives for individuals and families.

, we are not just conducting screenings: we are empowering our community with knowledge about their health.

‘By identifying health issues early, we can prevent them from becoming more serious problems. This event is a testament to our commitment to the well-being of Adukrom residents,’ Mr Annorbah-Sapei added.

He said the health screening services offered covered a wider range of vital health indicators, including blood pressure checks, blood sugar tests, BMI measurements, and malaria screenings.

Mr Annorbah-Sapei said medical professionals and volunteers were present to provide personalised advice and guidance based on the results, ensuring that attendees left with a better understanding of their health status.

He said, additionally, the blood donation segment of the event drew considerable attention from residents eager to make a meaningful contribution to the local healthcare system.

‘Donors were praised for their altruism and willingness to support those in need of blood transfusions, particularly in
emergencies and medical procedures,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Asante Juaben set to get 500-bed capacity mental health rehabilitation center

A 500-bed capacity mental health rehabilitation centre is set to be established at Asante Juaben in the Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti region.

The project, which is to be established by Mensah Mental Health Rehabilitation (Memhrep), an NGO, is to help cater for the health needs of the growing numbers of individuals being diagnosed with mental health problems in the country.

Memhrep’s main aim is to improve and maintain the well-being of persons with mental health problems by giving them quality health care, especially the most underprivileged in society.

The rehabilitation center after completion would accommodate and treat people with mental health needs and provide resettlement skills (vocational training) before reintegration.

It would consist of 500 capacity cluster beds, conference center, re-settlement center (workshops and apprentices training), a mosque, a Church, a clinic, and waste management plant.

Mr Adu Gyamfi, Founder and Director of the organization, made this known at a press confere
nce held in Kumasi over the weekend.

The conference was under the theme ‘End to neglecting and homelessness of mental health patients’

Mr Adu Gyamfi said there had been growing concerns over the continued deterioration and deplorable conditions in which mental health patients found themselves in Ghana.

According to him, mental health patients mostly were exposed to the vagaries of the weather, poor sanitation and without necessities such as food, water, and shelter.

For this reason, he said, it was important to build an ultra-modern rehabilitation edifice to help government’s efforts at providing proper shelter and vocation for mental patients.

He said, some challenges faced by mental patients were associated with homelessness, discrimination, stigmatization and sometimes victims of road accidents.

‘Mental patients have suffered enough in Ghana and therefore, the need to give them adequate attention and fair treatment’, he added.

Recounting his ordeal, he indicated that he once had a mental disorder du
e to excessive drinking and thinking, but today he had fully recovered and therefore, could not sit unconcern about affected individuals with mental disorders.

He said the cause of his mental disorder was due to family members’ ungratefulness and mismanagement of his wealth when he was away in Britain years back.

Mrs Esther Appraku, Director of Social Welfare at the Kumasi Metropolis Assembly (KMA), who spoke to the GNA, called on corporate bodies and philanthropists to join hands in the realization of the project by donating cash or building materials.

She also advised individuals who chained mentally health patients to treat at prayer camps, to desist from that and rather, send them to hospital.

Mrs Appraku noted, most at times, the problem of individuals having mental disorders was due to the brutalization at prayer camps.

A recovered mental health victim under Memhrep, Ms Linda Boateng, recounted how she was chained and brutalized by so-called prayer warriors at a prayer camp and appealed to the gove
rnment to shut down all prayer camps in the country.

She also appealed to men who were interested in her to gather courage and propose to her because she had fully recovered from the metal problem.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Access to sanitary pad key to females’ retention in school – ActionAid

Madam Abiba Nibaradun, the Upper West Regional Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana (AAG), has indicated that access to sanitary pads by school girls is key in ensuring equity in access to good quality education between females and their male counterparts.

She said this was because difficulty in accessing sanitary pads by some girls, particularly at the basic level adversely affected their effective participation in teaching and learning as they missed out of school during their menstrual periods.

She observed with worry that some girls engaged in amorous relationships with men against their will to get money to buy sanitary products due to lack of money to buy sanitary pads during menstruation.

Madam Nibaradun said this at Jirapa on Menstrual Hygiene Day under the theme: ‘Together for a #PeriodFriendlyWorld.’

The commemoration started with a float along principal streets of Jirapa with over a hundred people including members of the AAG’s Young Urban Women Movement and the Girls’ Empowerment and Advocacy
Platforms from Basic Schools across Jirapa and Lambussie participating in the march.

They wielded placards with the inscriptions like: ‘A sanitary pad to someone makes a difference. Donate a pad and not humiliation; Don’t laugh when I soil myself with menstrual blood and Support me cover up when I am stained.’

Madam Nibaradun said her interactions with some girls in some Basic Schools in the Jirapa and Lambussie districts revealed that girls who could not afford sanitary pads stayed out of school during their menstrual periods for fear of humiliation and stigma should they stain their cloths.

She explained that in the 21st century, sanitary pad price hikes and stigma associated with menstruation still hindered many girls, particularly in the rural communities from enjoying fully, their right to quality education.

The least price of a sanitary pad in the open market is Gh?15.00, which Madam Nibaradun attributed to the high taxes on imported sanitary pads and raw materials imported for its production.

is expected that for a nation like Ghana with more than 50 per cent of its population being female, the prices of sanitary products should have been very affordable in the market to support women and girls during menstruation,’ she explained.

The AAG Regional Boss condemned the myth that girls and women in their menstrual periods could not cook for some people to eat, go to certain places, or not to eat certain foods.

Madam Nibaradun said ActionAid had, in the past years, distributed re-usable sanitary pads to over 600 basic school girls who were members of the advocacy platforms in the Jirapa, Sissala and Lambussie districts to support their retention in school.

She appealed to stakeholders and benevolent individuals and organisations to help provide sanitary pads to support girls, particularly those in rural communities, to enable them to maintain personal hygiene during menstruation and to stay in school within that period.

ActionAid also distributed 100 reusable sanitary pads to the girls at the event
to help reduce absenteeism among girls during menstruation.

Some of the girls who spoke to the Ghana News Agency expressed gratitude to AAG for the support as it would enable them stay in school during their menstrual periods.

Madam Florence Darimaani, the Adolescent Focal Person at the Jirapa Municipal Health Directorate, educated the girls on personal hygiene management during menstruation.

Madam Lydia Ninberewe, the Jirapa Municipal Gender Desk Officer, advised the girls to extend the menstrual hygiene knowledge to their peers and urged parents to provide menstrual hygiene needs for their children when necessary.

She also advised the girls not to use poverty as an excuse to request sanitary pads from men who would in turn ask for sex and eventually truncate their life dreams and aspirations.

Mr Huudu Kunaateh, the Jirapa Municipal Director of Education, observed that some people stigmatise menstruating girls or women to the extent that they felt less of a human, which he described as unfortunate.

thanked AAG for its continuous support to the education sector in the municipality to help improve education, especially for the girl child.

Source: Ghana News Agency