President John Dramani Mahama has stated that Ghana can currently boast of a low generalized and stabilized HIV/AIDS epidemic rate of 1.5percent after years of difficult battle against the dreadful disease in the country.
In a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Alex Segbefia, Deputy Chief of Staff in Cape Coast on Tuesday, during the commemoration of the World Aids Day, President Mahama observed that during the mid-1980s it was very difficult for the ordinary man and medical world to combat the pandemic, but today HIV/AIDS are no longer new phenomena owing to great gains that have been made at the international and local levels.
According to President Mahama, government would continue to pursue high impact interventions to ensure that the country reduces new infection rate of HIV/AIDS by 50% in 2015, through the elimination of mother-to-child transmission to keep the mothers alive and ensure healthy families.
He announced that Ghana has been able to achieve highest prevention rate of 66% in new infections over the last 10 years from 2001 to 2011, adding that such feat must be celebrated and sustained.
President Mahama said Ghana is among the seven countries in the world that has achieved more than 75% coverage of pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Speaking at the same function, the Director General of Ghana Aids Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas said her outfit and its partners hosted the World Aids Day in Cape Coast because 2011 HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS) report painted bad picture on the prevalence rate in the region which hovered around 4.5% that is more than 100% increase from 1.7 % in 2010.
She pointed out that Cape Coast, the regional capital, which serves as the urban surveillance site recorded highest HIV prevalence rate in the whole country, jumping from 2.2 % in 2010 to 9.6% in 2011, as a result of influx of sex workers from the Western Region, owing to the oil discovery.
She again expressed concern about the increase rate of syphilis in the country.
Poem recitals and cultural displays marked the special occasion that drummed home the need to take fight against the HIV/AIDS very seriously to save humanity.
In another development some anxious residents in the Cape Coast Metropolis are waiting for the President John Dramani Mahama, who is expected to hit the campaign trail in the Central Region this week, to cut the sod for the construction of the Kotokuraba Market on Thursday, a high place official at the Central Regional Coordinating Council has hinted The Chronicle.
President Mahama is expected to begin his campaign tour of the region on Wednesday, to solicit support from the residents to retain National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in power for the next four years.
His tour is expected to start from Elmina, a fishing community in the region where premix and fishing inputs dominate politics of the day. Reports say the President is billed to meet the chief fishermen in the region before he proceeds to the interior parts of the region.
On Thursday, according to our information, President Mahama would cut the sod for the commencement of work on the Kotokroba market to fulfill the promise he made to the chiefs and people of Cape Coast Metropolis during this year's Fetu Afahye.
Meanwhile the GNA reports that President John Dramani Mahama on Monday said government would terminate the contracts of all road contractors who failed to execute their projects at the stipulated time.
He said government was committed to constructing feeder roads to facilitate the carting of both cash and food crops to the commercial centres and would, therefore, not tolerate contractors who delayed that process. President Mahama said this when he addressed separate rallies in the Ashanti Region as part of a four-day campaign tour of the region.
During his stay in the region, President Mahama would be addressing rallies, call on chiefs, inaugurate and inspect development projects in areas that he would be visiting.
The President said agriculture had been the backbone of the country's economy and government would continue to support and promote activities that would enhance the growth and development of the sector to make Ghana self-sufficient and a net exporter of foodstuff.
He expressed regret that over the years, the country had to register massive post harvest losses due mainly to inaccessible roads and appealed to the people to vote for the National Democratic Congress in the December polls to continue to improve on their living standards.
President Mahama, who also visited New Edubiase, Fumso, Obuasi, Akrofuom and Adansi East constituencies, appealed to the electorate to eschew negative tendencies that could undermine the forthcoming general election next month.
He said: "Elections are not won by insults, attacks and intimidation, but through good packaging of ideas, policies and issues."President Mahama cautioned the electorate to follow the instructions at the voting centres to avoid damaging the ballot paper and their subsequent rejection as had happened in previous elections.