THE Chairman of the Ghana HIV Network and member of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Mr Samuel Anyimadu-Amanaing, has criticised all presidential aspirants for neglecting issues of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis in their campaign messages.
He said all the presidential aspirants were going on and on about the economic empowerment of Ghanaians. However, “you cannot talk about economic empowerment to a people who are not there because they are being annihilated by HIV/AIDS, Malaria or TB”.
He told the Daily Graphic that the way these issues had been left out of campaign messages and manifestos of all the political parties showed that they were not important to the presidential aspirants and party members.
It also suggested a dearth of knowledge on these issues and concerns.
According to Mr Anyimadu-Amanaing, it was imperative to have policy initiatives for addressing these health concerns by all presidential aspirants in their campaigns and manifestos because of the global importance of these health concerns.
He said the presidential candidates of the US had come out clearly on the issues and campaigned forcefully on their policy initiatives on HIV/Aids, when elected as president, and presidential aspirants in the Ghana had to follow suit and address these issues publicly to support the efforts of agencies in addressing the challenge.
Mr Anyimadu-Amanaing stressed the seriousness of the health challenge, which called for public engagement by the aspirants.
That was because recent studies in the US had revealed that the prevalence rates reported in the past had been under-underestimated.
“Since Ghana also relies sometimes on these international figures, it is probable that estimates from the sentinel survey may also have been underestimated, meaning the 1.9 prevalence rates would be up by about 40 per cent,” he added.
He said the United States had recently increased budgetary support to Aids in Africa under the Presidential Emergency Fund for Relief, making it important for political leadership to show the commitment and foresight in tackling the challenge.
DAILY GRAPHIC, MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2008, PG 35