Journalists undergo HIV and AIDS training

About 50 media practitioners in the Northern Region have undergone a three-day intensive training on HIV and AIDS aimed at equipping them with knowledge to help ensure effective reportage to curb the spread of the disease.

The training was also in line with government’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2011 – 2015 aimed at reducing by half the spread of HIV and AIDS, and mother to child transmission to eventually stop new infections in the country.

The training, which ended in Tamale on Friday, was organised by the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

Participants were taken through topics including “The National Response to HIV and AIDS: Progress and Challenges” and “NSP 2011-2015: Towards Achieving Universal Access to Comprehensive HIV Services”.

Dr Joseph Amuzu, Director of Policy and Planning at the GAC, who spoke on behalf of the Director General of the GAC, underscored the need for effective and continued education on the spread of HIV and AIDS to inform the lifestyle of the populace to ensure the elimination of the disease.

Dr Amuzu said even though statistics showed a continued decline in the spread of the disease over the years, a lot more needed to be done if the country was to attain her objectives outlined in the NSP 2011-2015.

He gave the prevalence of the disease in the country for the year 2011 saying the total number of persons living with HIV  was 217,428, whilst the number of HIV positive children was 31,576,  HIV positive Pregnant Women was 12,854 and annual new HIV infections for adults stood at 8,925 and that of children was 2,933.

Dr Amuzu therefore, stressed the need for education of the populace saying GAC recognised the role and contribution of the media towards the attainment of the NSP 2011-2015 hence the training.

Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Northern Regional Coordinating Director, said HIV and AIDS response was all-encompassing and required in-depth knowledge for effective education.

He therefore, lauded the training saying it would enable journalists and media practitioners to do accurate reportage on the disease.

Mr Affail Monney, Vice President of the GJA, who spoke on the topic: “The Role of the Media in the Response to HIV,” called on journalists to go the extra mile to produce critical stories that would help to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, about 34 journalists who tested for HIV at the training were confirmed non-reactive or negative.

Source: GNA

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