HIV/AIDS still a priority – Dr. Arnolds

Dr. Wendy Arnolds, President of Peer Education Programme (PEP) of Los Angeles, on Wednesday urged the international community to continue to prioritise issues on HIV and AIDS.

She noted that it seemed the international community was apathetic towards HIV and AIDS however, in some parts of the world people were being infected with HIV and AIDS every six seconds.

PEP is a non-profit organisation that trains youth, especially teenagers to talk to their peers about HIV and AIDS prevention.

Dr. Arnolds is currently training selected officers of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and some staff of West African AIDS Foundation in Accra on HIV and AIDS prevention through peer education.

The programme is being supported by the United States Department of State and US Embassy in Ghana.

In an interview with the GNA, she expressed the hope that the participants in Ghana would educate their peers in the churches, public places and reach out to more people.

“HIV and AIDS is a disease, not a disgrace”, she said and was optimistic society would improve the care, compassion and hope of people who live with HIV and AIDS.

Dr. Jane Ansah, HIV and AIDS Coordinator for GAF, said her outfit begun peer education programme in 2000 and had led to the reduction of HIV infection.

She said the programme had assisted the soldiers, because they operated in an environment that put them at risk and educating them periodically on HIV and AIDS in small groups was helpful.

Dr. Ansah said soldiers who benefited from the training programme became role models and called for more of such support.

Source: GNA
Managements of rural banks strategise to handle infiltration

Association of Rural and Community Banks on Wednesday rolled-out innovative micro-finance strategies to deal with infiltration into their catchment zones by multilateral banks.

It includes mergers and acquisitions to allow economies of scale and lobby for review of requirement of location for specific ownership of rural banks which over the years have impeded their growth and consolidation.

Managements of rural banks would also capitalise on the operational experience in the rural communities with prudent financial schemes to ensure that it maintains its competitiveness while retaining their mission of providing services to a broad range of clients in the rural areas.

The strategies were the outcome of a study that revealed that many financial institutions were expanding into the rural financial market often targeting clients of the rural banks and their personnel.

Mr. Ajai Nair, Programme Coordinator, Agriculture Finance Support Facility of the World Bank, stated this at a Development Dialogue Series seminar in Accra for Sensitisation and Launch of “Rural Banking: The Case of Rural and Community Banks in Ghana” survey report.

The case study describes the history and business model of rural and community banks network in Ghana, analysis its performance, identifies key issues and makes recommendations on the way forward.

It recommended that RCB improved their service delivery and financial performance to create and manage their own financial institutions.

On the way forward, the study suggested the creation of an enabling economic environment for varied ownership structure; adopt initiatives to build the capacity of local financial institutions and creation of strategic partnership.

The study was commissioned by the World Bank and ARB Apex Bank which focused on the emergence and evolution of rural and community banks; review of Ghana’s financial sector; the legal, regulatory and supervision framework governing RCBs.

Other issues were rural financial services project and other major donor-funded programmes; the role of APEX bank in supervising rural and community banks and business models.

Mr. Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, Former Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana, encouraged managements of rural banks not to seek for protection against competition but should adopt innovative and efficient mode of operation to strengthen their position in the market.

Source: GNA

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