Dignitaries holding the ‘Carry Your Candle’ branded T-shirt.
Director of Policy & Planning at the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Cosmos Ohene- Adjei, has warned that the ambition of Ghana to eliminate the mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV by 2020 is likely to be undermined due to lack of cooperation from infected mothers who refuse to return to health centres after giving birth.
He indicated that the refusal of infected mothers to go for follow-ups predisposes new-born babies to the virus because such children when discharged are usually given prophylaxis as a preventive measure which wears away after a while.
Mr. Ohene- Adjei also added that the status of babies born to infected mothers could only be authenticated after 18 months of birth, hence necessitated mothers to go for follow-ups during the period.
“We want to tell the men who impregnate the women to ensure that the women return to the hospital,” he pointed out.
Mr. Ohene- Adjei also indicated that the absence of laws that would compel pregnant women to get tested and undergo treatment for HIV also made it difficult in preventing MTCT of the disease.
He was speaking in Accra at the press launch of ‘Carry Your Candle’ project, a five-year campaign aimed at reducing the stigmatisation and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.
This is to be achieved by creating a supportive social environment for persons living with the condition through sharing of information to create awareness across the country.
Activities earmarked for the project include musical concerts, annual anti-stigma walk campaign and fundraising events for the building of office complex for Network of Association of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+ Ghana).
The President of NAP+ Ghana, Emmanuel Beluzebr, encouraged the public to get tested so as to help fight the disease that accounts for over 27 million deaths in sub-Saharan Africa for the year 2017.
Sharing his life story, he revealed that he has been living a normal life despite being diagnosed with the disease for the past 27 years.
This, he attributed, to the efficiency and availability of anti-retroviral drugs that have drastically suppressed the disease.
He, however, lamented that NAP+ is currently being housed in rented structures that come at a huge cost.
Mr. Beluzebr has appealed to the public for support in order to help NAP+ carry out its mandate of fighting HIV stigma across the country.
NAP+ currently consists of 3,000 members and 270 associate members.
By Issah Mohammed