Mr. Nuhu Musah, Northern Regional HIV and AIDS Focal Person has expressed doubts about the figures put up by the Ghana Health Service concerning the prevalence rates of HIV and AIDS in the region which puts it at 0.3 percent saying that the prevalence rate of the region could be higher.
He explained that the Northern Region has only four Sentinel centers in Adibo, Tamale, Nalerigu and Salaga where data of infection rates were taken from pregnant women who attended to anti-natal care services stressing that given the geographical stretch of the region and the low anti-natal attendance, the infection rates of the region could be higher than 0.3 %.
Mr. Musah therefore urged the general public especially the youth not to be complacent with the notion that HIV infection was low in the region but take precautionary measures such as preventive sexual behaviours to avoid being infected with the disease.
He was addressing a training workshop for peer educators on HIV and AIDS in Tamale on Tuesday organized by the Center for Development Communication (CEDCOM), an NGO working in some communities to sensitize the public on HIV and AIDS in partnership with the Ghana AIDS Commission.
The workshop was attended by peer educators from Kpandai, Nanunba South, Nanumba North, Saboba and Chereponi districts to ensure their capacities were built on how best to educate the public on preventive and life planning skills, guidance and counseling among others.
Chief Alhassan Issahaku Amadu Northern Regional Population Officer expressed worry that the region has a high fertility rate of 6.8% explaining that many people in the area do not use contraceptive leading to the high fertility rate.
He said due to the high fertility rate, many parents could not afford to give their ward quality education resulting in many of the female ones falling prey to males who used them as sex objects.
Mr. Sulemani Abubakari, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of CEDCOM said since the emergence of HIV and AIDS in 1986 in the country, many interventions had been taken to address the calamity in line with the complex nature of the epidemic and suggested a multi-sectoral approach in minimizing its risks.
He said CEDCO worked with both private and public sector stakeholders as a partner of Ghana AIDS Commission operating with the objectives and principles of the Commission?s thematic areas of GAC strategic plan in achieving universal access to comprehensive HIV services.