Ghana HIV/AIDS News-The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has been urged to intensify efforts aimed at partnering with the media to get the public the needed education about HIV and AIDS.
Speaking at an interactive workshop with health reporters from the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions in Sunyani, Kingsley E Hope, chairman of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said many of the misconceptions people have about HIV and AIDS could be erased if they have access to the right information.
According to him, the absence of information from the GAC has forced the public to rely on claims made by some charlatans who spread rumors of having cure for the disease.
Mr Hope, therefore, advised the Commission to draw up plans that will see it collaborating more with the media so they can help disseminate proper information about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
‘’Sometimes it is difficult having information to educate people on health related matters and the bureaucracy that one would have to go through to get reactions and statistics to a health story may demoralize the person from pushing further’’, Mr Hope observed.
Mr Larry Paa Kwasi Moses, Brong -Ahafo Chairman of the GJA reiterated the need for proper cooperation between the GAC and GJA.
This partnership, the chairman noted when struck will see the media and the GAC doing well in churning out the requisite information to the public about the effects of HIV infection and the available treatment modes at the hospital.
He wondered why the Commission rather than taking advantage of the media space available would want to do the sensitization their own way.
Realizing the deficit by the GAC, Larry Moses said traditional herbal medicine practitioners have taken advantage of the media space and have been bombarding the public with claims of HIV cure.
‘’I wish the GAC takes the platform the media offers seriously so they can maximize its potential to their advantage as they educate and expose the public to the treatments that is available for those who may have HIV’’, Mr Moses advised.
Speaking on the way forward, Mr Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, Acting Director of Technical Services, GAC assured the media of collaboration.
He indicated the purpose of the workshop was to brainstorm with the media so they can find effective ways in sensitizing the public through the airwaves.
The media’s role, he noted was crucial to the GAC getting the right information to the public as it intensifies its vision of having a 90/90/90 target of reduced infections as well as curtailing the spread of the HIV disease.
He promised to inculcate the views of the media into the policy and framework of the Commission so as to ensure an effective outreach program.
Earlier on in the day, there were two presentations of the overview of activities the GAC has deployed in Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions to scale up awareness in the public about the HIV disease and other STDs.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim and Olivia Graham, GAC-Heads of Technical Support Units from the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions respectively requested the support of the media to drive their initiatives across the communities in the regions.
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