HIV/AIDS Workshop in Ghana Addresses Women’s Issues, Media’s Role in Fight Against Disease
At a recent workshop held by Women, Media and Change, Afua Ansre, national coordinator of the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Ghana, said that obstacles to HIV/AIDS prevention -- including a lack of access to information, education and health care -- are compounded by a deficit of sex-specific data on monitoring systems, Ghana's Public Agenda reports. Ansre also said that women should be provided with education about the disease, particularly for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. She added that governments, nongovernmental organizations and individuals must work together "to implement structured programs to prevent the spread" of HIV/AIDS.
According to the Public Agenda, the workshop aimed to provide female members of the media with the skills to effectively report about women living with HIV/AIDS and give them relevant information about HIV/AIDS prevention among at-risk groups, particularly women and girls. Charity Binka, a WOMEC facilitator, said that the specific objectives of the workshop were to train female journalists on the gender and rights aspects of HIV/AIDS reporting and supply them with the opportunity to collect first-hand information on the challenges of living with the disease. She added that workshop organizers hope to create a network of peers reporting on HIV/AIDS in Ghana.
Oliver Commey of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital said that women's biology, their economic status, forced marriages and unstable environments such as conflict are some factors that contribute to women being at risk of contracting HIV. Commey added that issues such as marriage, stigma, disclosure, and access to treatment and care are important to address among women living with HIV/AIDS. According to Commey, media should be responsible for advocating for those without power. He added, "You need to gather, analyze and disseminate accurate information on HIV. This should be continuous to keep authorities on their toes" (Amankwah, Public Agenda, 10/6).