Ghana’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate declines at 1.37%

AIDS2Ghana’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate continues to decline and currently stands at 1.37 per cent, while proportion of women living with HIV/AIDS is 57 per cent compared to 43 per cent for men.

The rate of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Ghana has also steadily reduced since 2000 to just over half the number; from 740 deaths per 100,000 live births to 350 in 2014.

Mr John Alexander Ackon, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, who announced this at the 20th anniversary celebration of Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE Ghana), said various interventions by the Government had helped to reduce certain health indices in Ghana.

He, however, said government was concerned that the phenomenon still persisted in the country and efforts were being made to eradicate the phenomenon.

“The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is effectively addressing the issue of Obstetric Fistula. We undertook fistula repairs for 68 women from the Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Central regions of Ghana,” he said.

He said poverty was a significant underlying contributor to many social, educational and health issues in Ghana.

Mr Ackon said although many women were now seeking antenatal care, poverty remained a barrier to healthy diets and better living conditions. It also impeded access to relevant education to assist in understanding medications and treatments.

To address that, he said, the Ministry had implemented LEAP 1000 project to provide regular cash to extremely poor households with pregnant women for the first 1000 days of new-born babies.

The project is to prevent malnutrition to avoid stunting in children aged zero to three years within the three northern regions and 7,000 women are earmarked to benefit from it.

He said there was much to celebrate, from declining infant mortality to rising school enrollment, to reduction in poverty and the contributions of civil society organisations like CARE Ghana, and various development partners could not be over emphasized.

The Deputy Minister said the historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that much remained to be done and “we are happy to be working with civil society organisations, especially CARE Ghana, and various development partners to take on some of these remaining challenges”.

Mr Elkanah Odembo, Country Director of CARE Ghana, said since its inception in 1994, CARE Ghana had undertaken several projects to enhance the livelihoods of vulnerable people, especially women and children, in various regions and districts across the country.

He said women and children were financially excluded thereby depriving them of basic social amenities adding that CARE Ghana directed most of its projects in that direction to mitigate the challenge.

Mr Diawary Boaure, Regional Director, CARE West Africa Regional Management Unit, said there were plans to engage with more partners and share ideas with local authorities as to how to promote socio-economic development in the countries that they were operating in.

He stressed the need to strengthen the capacity of women and empower them to handle the nutritional needs of their families and that CARE was the moving machinery that would effect that change in all the areas they were operating in.

He said Ghana was the driving force for West Africa in terms of social interventions and called on other countries to learn the success story and build on the transformational process.

Ms Margit Thompsen, Danish Ambassador to Ghana, said Denmark would continue to support civil society organisations in Ghana to improve socio-economic development and livelihood of the people.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of Esikado Traditional Area, who chaired the function, paid glorious tribute to the past and present country directors of CARE Ghana for their immense contributions to the organisation’s work.

CARE Ghana later awarded Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection with a Certificate of Appreciation for championing the work of the vulnerable, especially women and children, in Ghana.

Source: GNA

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