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Lordina Foundation offers free medical screening to Bawjiase residents

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The Ghana Chapter of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) in partnership with Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has organised free health screening programme for the people of Awutu Senya West Constituency.

The Lordina Foundation led the partnership that sought to increase the awareness of the citizens on the status of their health and general well-being of Ghanaians.

The health outreach programme was also aimed at creating awareness about Prevention of Mother–to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, and the reproductive health of women in general.

Mrs Lordina Mahama, the First Lady, who is also the President of OAFLA, said prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV was important “for us to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV from mothers to their children”.

She said globally, AIDS is the leading the cause of death among women and girls between the reproductive ages of 15 to 49 with about 14 million children orphaned due to AIDS.

She also expressed concern that in Ghana, only 75 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV received Anti-retrovirals for PMTCT in 2014 while 30 per cent of HIV positive children received treatment.

She said it is against this background that the Lordina Foundation in collaboration with OAFLA and GAC has been conducting advocacy across the country on prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive, to support the country’s efforts at eliminating mother-to-child transmission.

“We can significantly move Ghana towards an HIV free future, through the PMTCT, safe sex and reduction of stigma; and significantly reduce the number of cervical and breast cancers that occur in our society by encouraging women to test for HIV and conduct regular breast self-examination” the First Lady said.

She said the collaboration between the Lordina Foundation, the GAC and OAFLA with other partners including UNAIDS has yielded many successes including the reduction of annual AIDS deaths by 43 per cent, and the reduction of the prevalence of HIV among exposed babies to eight percent at birth and 21 per cent after breastfeeding -down from 32 per cent.

She said the collaboration has also achieved 50 per cent reduction in transmission of HIV from mother to child, provided prevention of mother to child transmission to 81 per cent of pregnant women and helped in treating 66 per cent of infected pregnant women to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.

Mrs Mahama said in spite of the successes there were still some challenges towards the efforts at fighting HIV and so “we need to double our efforts to address the remaining and new challenges in PMTCT”.

She said some of the challenges include traditions that dis-empower women from taking personal decisions on their health, culture of fear, discrimination and non-acceptance of HIV status by male counterparts.

“It is for these reasons that this advocacy that I am spearheading, stresses community involvement, and the involvement of men, in supporting their partners to access HIV and reproductive health services.

“As an HIV Premier Ambassador, I have adopted an integrated approach and would advocate for more and sustainable resources, to improve on the health outcomes for women, including the reduction of cervical and breast cancers”, the First Lady said.

She said so far eight regions made up of Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Western, Central, Greater Accra, Volta and Ashanti have all benefitted from the health outreach engagements, which has yielded great results.

Mrs Mahama said government working through the GAC, would continue to place importance and implement the national strategic plan 2016-2020 on HIV/AIDS and work towards achieving fast-track targets of 90 per cent of People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) to know their status, 90 per cent of PLWHIV on Antiretroviral treatment and 90 per cent of immune suppression dubbed the 90-90-90 target.

Dr Angela El-Adas, Director-General of Ghana AIDS Commission, said the health of women was of vital importance because when women are healthy they ensure that their families are also healthy.

“This is why Mrs Mahama is going round the country to offer free medical outreaches to the people, especially women to ensure that they stay alive to take care of their families and contribute their quota to the nation.

Ms Hannah Serwah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and MP for Awutu-Senya West, urged her constituents to take advantage of free screening to check their health status.

She urged her constituents to keep the government in office by voting for President Mahama and her as the MP for the area so they could continue to enjoy the good things being provided by the current government.

The First Lady later donated assorted items including bags of rice, bags of sugar, boxes of cooking oil, some confectioneries, toiletries and toys, to the Estann School. It operates an orphanage, located at Nfante Newtown, a suburb of Bawjiase.

Then she later conferred with the queen mothers of the area, led by Naa Adode Akaibi XIV, Paramount queen mother of the Awutu Area in a meeting behind closed doors. GNA

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