Ghana holds flag-raising ceremony to demonstrate commitment to fight HIV/AIDS

A Flag-Raising ceremony to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day was on Tuesday held at the Obetsetsebi Lamptey Roundabout in Accra.

The ceremony was organized by Ghana AIDS/HIV Network (GHANET) to demonstrate Ghana’s commitment to the campaign against HIV/AIDS and its related stigma.

This year’s World AIDS Day celebration was observed on December 1 at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region on theme, “Getting to Zero-The role of the youth”.

It was aimed at reflecting the impact of HIV on the youth and their contribution to reducing new infections.

According to a UNAIDS report, there are 34 million people currently living with HIV globally.

The report noted that despite the significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over the last five years worldwide, there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths in 2010.

It indicated that in 2010, some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children.

In Ghana, out of the 61,393 people infected with HIV/AIDS who survive on anti-retroviral drugs, 2,812 are said to be children.

It is estimated that the lives of more than 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS are at stake due to the lack of financial support for the treatment HIV/AIDS patients and the withdrawal of Global Fund’s support because of current economic challenges.

Speaking at the Flag-Raising ceremony, Mr Victor Atta-Ntumi, President of GHANET said Ghana had made progress by reducing the prevalence rate of the disease from 3.6 in 2003 to 1.7 per cent.

He said reports indicated that people within the ages of 15 to 49 were at risk on transmission and infections, adding that this called for active participation of the youth in the fight against the pandemic.

He said Ghana was at the cross-roads with the generation gap widening everyday as the youth continued to break into new grounds and create new values, lifestyles and social challenges.

The GHANET President called on traditional rulers to be actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and pledged GHANET’s support to compliment government’s effort by carrying out integrated community-based health education and other services to vulnerable people.

In a speech read on his behalf by Madam Lydia Sackey, the Mayor of Accra,  Mr Alfred Vanderpuije reiterated government’s commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said government was aware of the funding gaps in the national response as a result of financial constraints facing the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

“But as a government, there is no way we will sit unconcerned and watch our brothers and sisters living with HIV and AIDS lose their lives”, he said.

Source: GNA

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