A Disease Control Officer of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Friday called for some form of modification of the local names of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB). He said the current local derivatives or names exudes grimness, somberness and suggests even the macabre in the minds of people so that sufferers were often tagged hopeless cases even where there was hope. Mr Joe Degley, GHS Volta Regional HIV/AIDS Coordinator, was speaking at the 2010 US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Poster Contest Awards Ceremony at Ve-Deme in the Hohoe Municipal Area. He said in almost all the Ghanaian language names given to the two diseases suggest death, caricature, immorality, sin and damnation and challenged linguistic experts to help in the process of re-framing the names. Mr Degley said there was cure for TB and that it was totally free and a lot of hope for HIV/AIDS patients to lead normal lives through the functional medical and social interventions. The PEPFAR Poster Contest seeks to use artwork to promote the acceptance of persons living with HIV and opened to male and females between the ages of 10 and 20 years including students and school pupils. According to the background document made available to the GNA, PEPFAR, which is an "initiative to address the global HIV and AIDS pandemic through prevention, treatment and care activities, was first launched in 2003 with a 15 billion US dollar budget and rolled for five years. It said the second phase with a raised budget of 39 billion US dollars started in 2009 with focus on treatment and care for the affected and preventing new infections. The US Overseas Volunteer Organization, Peace Corps is among the five US government agencies coordinating the programme. The 2010 Poster contest was under the theme: "My Friend with HIV is still My Friend". Mr Daniel Omane, Peace Corps HIV Coordinator, said the Corp Volunteers as part of the contribution to the PEPFAR coordinated and guided contestants in the communities that took part in the Poster Competition. Five of the 13 Award Winners, including the overall best and runner-up and three consolation prize winners were from the Hohoe Municipal Area while the overall best and two of the consolation prize winners came from the Ve-Deme Municipal Authority (MA) Junior High School (JHS). There was a total of 144 final entries. Bernard Yawotse, 17, form 3 student, came first and won prizes including a laptop, a calendar and won for his school, a set of encyclopaedia and a world map among others. Bubune Walter Agbodza, 17, from Goviefe-Kowu-Agodome L/A JHS won the second place. Mawulorm Wenu, 17, of Goviefe-Kowu Agodome EP Primary, Joyce Doele, 16, Ve-Deme MA JHS, Asiwome Modom, 16, also of Ve-Deme MA JHS took the consolation prizes. Prizes for all the winners included dictionaries, calendars and booklets of the posters and for the schools, world maps. Daniel Bertolino, Peace Corp Volunteer who guided the first prize winner and two others, observed that artwork, as a medium of self-expression could help and serve as a catalyst for change in societies. Madam Joan Afeku, Headmistress of the Ve-Deme JHS, situated in a markedly ecologically friendly environment, described Bertolino's support for the winning students as selfless. She said the school was in the process of forming a Health Club to bring in more students into health campaign issues.
Source: Ghana News Agency