The United States of America (USA) President’s Emergency Plan for Aids initiative (PEPFAR) with support from the USAID has organised a two-day training workshop for selected journalists in the Western North Region on HIV Reporting.
They called on them to increase their reportage on HIV/ AIDS related issues.
Ms Dzid Kwame, PEPFAR Media specialist who made the call noted that continuous media report would help in the fight against the deadly disease as the media as change agents, must lead the discussion for effective advocacy role that would help to disseminate vital information on HIV and its related issues.
In that regard, she charged the media to lead the crusade for attitudinal change to engender better understanding of the disease for the country to achieve epidemic control by 2030.
She said by 2030, 95 percent of Ghana’s population should have been tested, 95 percent should be on treatment and 95 percent of those on treatment should be able to suppress viral load.
Mr Diawoo Benneh, Senior Social Mobilisation and Advocacy Advisor from the USAID’s Strengthening the Care Continuum project took participants through stigma and discrimination towards persons living with HIV and challenges associated with stigma and discrimination and how to overcome them.
He said it was crucial to ensure equitable access to care, improve service delivery and foster health facility environment that promoted non-stigmatization and non-discriminating care.
He reiterated the call for the media to educate the public on HIV and partner with relevant institutions to extend HIV education on their various platforms to make the required change.
The Western North Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Agyemang Bediako, Sefwi-Wiawso Municipal NADMO lauded PEPFAR for the continuous support to Ghana in the implementation of various HIV programmes targeted at improving the health system, reducing new HIV infections, stigmatization, and discrimination
He revealed that the Western North Region had an estimated 10,619 HIV positive cases.
According to the Minister, per the 2020 report, of the 4,120 tested at Wiawso, 340 were positive and said 254 had been put on treatment, adding that 86 of them had defaulted and 47 cases of Prevention of Mother to Child ( PMTC) were recorded.
He mentioned stigma and discrimination as the major barriers to HIV treatment with a national area at 5.2 percent.
Some of the participants in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) commended PEPFAR, USAID and the American embassy for the training and promised to give more attention to HIV related since the fight against HIV/AIDS was a shared responsibility.