TSU partner MoFA to Sensitization in Selected Communities in Wa West & East Districts on HIV & AIDS.

TSU partner MoFA to Sensitization in Selected Communities in Wa West & East Districts on HIV & AIDS.

The Ghana AIDS Commission’s Technical Support Unit for the Upper West Region partnered the Ministry of Food and Agriculture outfit in the region to sensitise the Varempare and Gudayiri communities in the Wa West and Wa East Districts respectively in the first quarter of 2020. A key outcome at an earlier engagement by the TSU in building the capacity of MoFA staff in the region on HIV and AIDS was a commitment for the two institutions to explore avenues of working together. Consequently, the Development Unit of MoFA invited the TSU during their field visits to the two communities in the Wa West and East Districts to sensitise the community members on HIV and AIDS on 11th and 12th February, 2020. This was under the initiative of the Women in Agriculture Programme.

Famers and community members in both villages were taken through basic facts on HIV and AIDS. That is, how the virus can be contracted and transmitted, self and joint preventive guidelines against the infection, treatment and care as well as the importance of knowing one’s HIV status. Condoms promotion and demonstration to teach farmers/community members on how to wear both male and female condoms correctly and consistently were also carried out. Farmers were encouraged to test to know their status and how that can be done through the health facilities at both communities.

Below are some of the highlighted messages;

•    Any farmer or community member just like all of us is at risk of contracting the infection unless we take preventive measures such as; Abstinence, mutual faithfulness to uninfected partner(s), consistent and correct condom use and being on medication if already positive.  
•    Stigmatising and discriminating against PLHIVs has negative consequences that affect everyne. This is because, stigma makes people afraid to test, those who test positive are reluctant to disclose to their loved ones and also fear to seek healthcare. This situation puts everyone at risk of being infected.
•    Good knowledge of HIV and AIDS prevents misconceptions and helps in making informed decisions.
•    PLHIV can engage in both crop and animal farming and selling because they pose no risk to anybody in those undertakings. They also have their rights protected in the laws of Ghana just like all of us.
•    PLHIV require adequate food and good nutrition for smooth adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Good nutrition is also required for the medication PLHIV take to be efficacious.

The opportunity was also used to engage in the following advocacy for PLHIV;

•    Accepting PLHIV as full functional members of the community is a way we can all contribute to reducing new infections.  
•    Supporting PLHIVs who are food insecure with some farm produce at the end of each farming season is a socially responsible thing to do.
•    Making available farm lands to PLHIV interested in crop farming more especially women in Agriculture is empowering.
•    Stopping HIV and AIDS related stigma and discrimination in the community and the region as a whole is a collective responsibility.
•    Everyone should serve as an HIV ambassador in his household and together we shall achieve or aim of eliminating AIDS in Ghana.

At the end, members in both communities were pleased to have the team and indicated that the sensitization exercise was an eye opener to them because majority of them used to have the belief that HIV and AIDS was only associated with those in towns and cities. They said further that, their belief before the sensitization was that none of them had HIV when in reality, they have not tested to ascertain their status.

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The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...

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