17
Mon, Dec
19 New Articles

CHECKI MMO HO: BAGBIN DEMANDS HIV TESTS FOR MAHAMA, HIMSELF, OTHERS

Politics

National Democratic Congress flagbearer hopeful Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin wants former President John Dramani Mahama, himself and others who are seeking to occupy the office of President of the Republic of Ghana to be made to undergo compulsory HIV/AIDS tests.

National Democratic Congress flagbearer hopeful Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin wants former President John Dramani Mahama, himself and others who are seeking to occupy the office of President of the Republic of Ghana to be made to undergo compulsory HIV/AIDS tests.

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament is contesting the NDC presidential slot against Mr Mahama, former Trade and Industry Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Professor Joshua Alabi, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Professional Studies in Accra, and former chief executive of the National Health Insurance Authority Sylvester Mensah, among others.

Mr Bagbin believes making the test for HIV/AIDS a compulsory requirement for people seeking the highest office of the land will help raise awareness of the need for people to get tested. He adds that it will help take away the stigma associated with the disease.

The aspiring NDC presidential candidate, who made this call in a contribution to a statement to Parliament to mark World AIDS Day, also said that anyone seeking to occupy the office of MP must be made to undergo a test.

“We have to include it as part of the qualification of a Member of Parliament; that before you go to stand for an election, you go for an HIV test, and so should it be for all presidential aspirants,” Mr Babgin said.

Upsurge

In a related development, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says it is time to reverse the rising trend of HIV infection among the youth.

A recent report released by the Ghana AIDS Commission showed that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the youth, particularly those below the age of 24, has risen to about 45 per cent. In 2016, new HIV infections in Ghana increased by 70.15 per cent.

The Ghana AIDS Commission report also shows that 15,116 people in Ghana died of the disease or related complications in 2016.

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) has attributed the upsurge to unprotected sex as well as poor knowledge among the youth about how to avoid catching the infection.

According to CDD-Ghana, this should be of great concern to everyone, considering that a majority of Ghana’s population ‒ about 57 per cent ‒ is youthful.
President Akufo-Addo has therefore tasked the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), the Ministry of Health, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to work together to achieve a high impact and achieve the country’s public health targets.

He made the call in a speech read on his behalf at a durbar in Ho to mark this year’s World AIDS Day on Saturday.

Commitment

The theme for the day in Ghana this year was “Test, Treat to Suppress and Stop New HIV Infections”, complementing the global theme of “Know Your Status”.

President Akufo-Addo reiterated the government’s commitment to UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 target of 90 per cent of all people living with HIV knowing their status, 90 per cent of all people with a diagnosed HIV infection receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy having viral suppression, all by 2020.

He praised the efforts of development partners in sustaining the fight against HIV and called for more collaboration to defeat the disease.