Sunyani — The First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, has noted that it is an injustice for innocent babies to inherit HIV infection from mothers.
Mrs. Mahama queried why innocent babies should come to the world already infected with HIV through no fault of theirs, but through parents, and has therefore called for concerted efforts in the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
The First lady was addressing a durbar of chiefs and people of the Brong-Ahafo Region during the launch of the PMTCT, and Keeping Mothers Alive campaign in Sunyani.
She encouraged the need to keep mothers infected with HIV alive, in order to ensure that they live to care for their children.
PMTCT and Keeping Infected Mothers Alive formed part of the objectives of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA), of which the First Lady is the Vice President of the West African chapter.
OAFLA was established 10 years ago, in recognition of concerns and commitments expressed by African first ladies to address HIV and AIDS on the continent.
She noted that in Ghana, there were 1,600 sites providing PMTCT services, where pregnant women are counseled and offered HIV testing.
According to the First Lady, pregnant women who tested positive were offered anti-retroviral treatment for their health, and to prevent transmission of the virus to their unborn babies, disclosing that last year, 548,933 pregnant women were tested for HIV, out of which 2% tested positive.
Mrs. Mahama's disclosed: "My approach to the fight against HIV and AIDS involves community mobilisation and education, and the involvement of men in supporting their partners to access HIV and reproductive health services."
She used the opportunity to advocate the fight against cervical and breast cancers, which affect the health of women, asking women to often go for screening to detect early signs of cervical cancer, so that it could be cured, since treatment was available in the country. On breast cancer, she advised women above 20 years to go for regular checkups, in an effort to fight against the disease.
She advised women to look out for the presence of lumps or thickening of the breast, swelling, redness, or soreness of skin, change in shape or appearance of the nipple, and nipple discharge.
However, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Mrs. Angelina El-Adas, disclosed 852 children were infected with HIV in 2012.
Out of the total figure, 60% of the HIV cases among women and children were infected through mother-to-child transmission, commending the First Lady on her quest to fight against HIV and AIDS, breast cancer, and other diseases affecting the wellbeing of women.