Dr. Joseph Tambil, Medical Director of the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH) in the Western Region has prevailed upon pastors, mallams and herbalists to encourage people with HIV who patronise their facilities to visit hospitals for antiretroviral drugs and not solely rely on prayers.
He said though prayers were good for healing, it was equally important for patients to seek medical care as well.
Dr. Tambil said this at a forum to mark the World AIDS Day Celebration in Takoradi, on the national theme, “Communities Make the Difference – Help End AIDS”.
He pointed said although there were some achievements in the prevalence rates, it was imperative to reaffirm their commitment towards the fight against HIV/AIDS and make sure that they reduced it by 2020 and eliminate it by 2030.
This, he noted could be achieved when all hands were put on deck to raise the necessary awareness on HIV/AIDS and improve on the care given to people with HIV and more importantly eradicate discrimination and stigmatisation against people living with HIV/AIDS.
He indicated that the Western Regional branch of the Ghana Health Service (GHS)increased its testing points in their health facilities to ensure that anyone that visited any hospital was tested and had access to HIV/AIDS services.
The international theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”. World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy.
“Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind”.
Dr Tambil pointed out that greater mobilization of communities was required to address the barriers that stopped communities delivering services, restrictions on registration and social contracting modalities.
He said strong advocacy role played by communities was needed more than ever to ensure that AIDS remained on the political agenda,ensured that human rights of HIV patients were respected and decision-makers and implementers held accountable.