….Health Minister Tasks Traditional Herbalists
By Gifty Arthur
The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayitey, has challenged traditional herbalists in Ghana and the rest of Africa to adhere in their quest to heal their patients, find cure for the dreaded HIV-AIDS disease, which has claimed millions of lives on the continent.
In the same vein, she has implored African scientists and researchers to conduct research into how some of the plants and herbs Africa is blessed with, can be used as immunity for patients of the disease.
“We need to also urge our traditional healers find cure for HIV and I will appeal to the AIDS Commission to be one of the collaborators to achieve this dream.
Coming from the scientific background, I think scientists must also look at the African contest. I believe even in Ghana, we have a lot of herbs and so many things that if we research into, we can use to help HIV patients to help with their immunity.
So, I will also appeal to Research Institutions that in addition to some of the researches that they are carrying out, we should do more research into our local herbal materials”, she noted.
Her call, comes several years after rumours that some African traditional healers, including some from Ghana, have found cure for the deadly virus.
Miss Ayitey was speaking at the opening of the third National HIV and AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON), organized by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), in collaboration with its partners, on Tuesday in Accra.
The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Paul Victor Obeng, noted that the fight against HIV-AIDS has moved from a mere health issue to a developmental one.
He dwelled on the need for Ghana to initiate measures to start producing drugs for HIV-AIDS patients, which are imported into the country at a cost, adding that with strict adherence and supervision for great efficacy, Ghana can advance that course and thereby provide employment for its people.
The Senior Advisor to the President, said government “will fulfill its financial obligations made to the GAC and we are assured that with increased resources, the Commission and its partners can attain impressive results as we utilize strategic information in our response to the epidemic”, he assured
The conference, which is the third to be organized by the Commission, has the theme: “Utilizing Strategic Information for an Effective National Response”.
Enumerating the many successes chalked by the Commission, the Director-General of the Commission Dr. Angela El-Adas, said their effort will be in vein if “we will experience a reversal of the current trends, if we do not keep HIV high on our national development agenda. Now is the time to intensify and accelerate our efforts, to tackle those difficult areas of our epidemic and society.
We must fully achieve the set national and global targets by 2015; and we believe that we can; if we apply sound evidence to plan and implement interventions and if we endeavour to finance these plans fully”.
The programme, which comes to a close today is engaging policy makers, implementers and researchers on various sub-themes to provide strategies to resolve critical challenges based on scientific evidence.
Topical issues to be discussed include; Progress of the last decade of expanded HIV response, The road to Zero and Achieving combination prevention; a strategic approach to eliminating HIV; Sustaining the AIDS Response through country ownership and leadership and the Post 2015 HIV Agenda
Ghana is among five countries in sub-Sahara Africa whose HIV prevalence declined by more than 52 per cent between 2001 and 2010 among young people aged 15-24, according to a UNAIDS 2011 report.