Queen mothers in Greater Accra Region have been sensitised on HIV management to enhance their knowledge and understanding of key aspects of the virus to enable them to sensitise their communities.
The sensitisation is to equip them with knowledge on stigma reduction, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, reduction in new HIV infections among adolescents and behaviour change.
According to a statement signed and copied to the Ghana News Agency by Madam Margaret Akosua Yamoah, the Communications Director of the Ghana AIDS Commission, the sensitization was done at a workshop with funding support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It said the workshop was one of many others, meant to complement on-going national initiatives such as the “Free to Shine Campaign” and the “National Prevention Coalition” toward realisation of pressing national and global targets particularly the 90-90-90 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr Kyereme Atuahene, the Acting Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said it was important to achieve the 90-90-90 treatment targets to control the epidemic, the statement said.
He noted that despite on-going sensitisation, many people shy away from testing to know their HIV status due to a number of factors such as stigma.
Even people who are HIV positive do not access treatment for similar reasons, he said, and emphasised the importance of adhering to antiretroviral treatment as it is the globally recognised and most effective way of managing HIV.
Mr Atuahene urged the queen mothers to encourage their communities to test to know their HIV status and access treatment if tested positive.
According to the statement, Nana Teiba Chinbua, the Head of Governance at UNDP, said to be able to end AIDS by 2030, would mean countries harnessing the strengths of already existing communities and traditional structures to strengthen HIV prevention and eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Dr Fred Nana Poku, the Director of Technical Services at Ghana AIDS Commission, according to the statement said, the concept of prevention of mother-to child transmission of HIV could be promoted by queen mothers especially with adolescent girls, it said.
Ms Winifred Armah-Attoh, a resource person from the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, engaged queen mothers on basic HIV topics such as ‘Facts about HIV and AIDS’, ‘Modes of Transmission’, ‘Prevention, Myths and Misconceptions’.
Ms Rita Afriyie, the Technical Coordinator for Greater Accra Region, also called on all and sundry to join forces with the Ghana Health Service, Ghana AIDS Commission and other concerned HIV prevention and control bodies to address stigma and discrimination.
The programme was attended by more than 50 queen mothers from across the Region.