A day’s workshop has been held for District Citizens’ Monitoring Committee (DCMC) members to sharpen their knowledge and skills in the implementation of the Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM and E) strategies on HIV and AIDS in communities.
The DCMC advocates health improvement in communities through the PM and E framework to promote and maximise equity in the planning of health service delivery as well as championing the health rights of the people.
It is a project dubbed: “People For Health (P4H)” and sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The workshop, jointly organised by SEND Ghana, Penplusbytes, the Ghana News Agency and Janok Foundation, a community-based organisation, forms part of activities to ensure that the DCMC members render efficient services to HIV/AIDS patients.
Mrs Sandra Kwabia Sarkwah, Project Officer of SEND Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency that the training was related to problems that HIV/AIDS victims go through in their communities, hence the need for DCMC to be equipped in advocacy, leadership and networking.
She said the PM and E approach empowers citizens to hold government institutions and office holders accountable, reduces health inequalities, promote social accountability and strengths government and civic society organization (CSO) relations.
Mrs Sarkwah urged the DCMC to create awareness to enable the people become more responsive, adding that “if the HIV positive feel accepted, they would be open to discuss their situation, status and help educate others.”
Madam Jane Oku, the Chief Executive Officer of Janok Foundation and a focal person, reminded the DCMC that, People Living with HIV have the same right to liberty as the rest of the people and urged the DCMC members to collaborate with community leaders to foster good relationship to help prevent the HIV at the local level.
Ms Patience Dogli, a HIV positive and member of the DCMC, in an interview with the GNA, said she was living healthy because “I take my drugs daily and feel happy talking to people to abstain from oral sex.” I was aware of being HIV positive for the past 10 years and was on drugs constantly and am married, but my child and husband don’t have the virus,” she said.
Ms Dogli said poverty was one of the problems making the elimination of the disease difficult in Africa and advised community members to freely go and check their status, adding that “the fact that you tested positive do not mean you have AIDS.”