WAPCAS honors Effia Nkwanta for strides against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination
The Ghana West Africa Programme to Combat AIDS and STIs (WAPCAS) has honored Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital for its role in the fight against the HIV/AIDS menace. This was at the launch of the third phase of the stigma and discrimination intervention programme in Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital. The launch paves way for practical steps to be taken in tackling sigma and discrimination challenges confronting Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital. A special citation from WAPCAS was received by the Medical Director of the Hospital Dr. Joseph Tambil.
In a presentation, Dr. Tambil highlighted the hospital’s commitment to do more in promoting efforts at eradicating stigma and discrimination in the Hospital. He outlined a list of proposed activities includes the construction of partitions in Consulting Rooms four and five to improve confidentiality and the erecting billboards for posting messages to create awareness on stigma and discrimination.
A survey which entailed baseline assessments on stigma and discrimination in twenty health facilities in five regions provided evidence to design tailored stigma and discrimination reduction interventions piloted in five different facilities, one in each of the five regions. By the end of the baseline survey, the assessment showed a significant increase in stigma and discrimination hence the need to train health personnel for a renewed commitment.
Seven participants from Effia Nkwanta comprising health service staff and community members (Model of Hope) attended the workshop to be trained as trainers. They have in turn trained four hundred other personnel against HIV AIDS stigma and discrimination.
The Executive Director of WAPCAS Mrs Comfort Asamoah Adu commended Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital for a yeoman job in ensuring the reduction and eventual eradication of all forms of stigma and discrimination in the Hospital against people living with HIV AIDS.
In an address, the Sekondi Takoradi Metro Chief Executive Abdul Munim Issah who represented the Western Regional Minister Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah indicated that stigmatization and discrimination are barriers to effective and equitable healthcare. He says stigma in health facilities discourages individuals from seeking health services at the time they are in their vulnerable state. According to him patients who feel stigmatized may withdraw from treatment and experience worse conditions. Stigma may also impact the well-being of healthcare staff because some may be living with stigmatized conditions. “They may hide their own health status from their colleagues and will be unwilling to engage with them and called for concerted efforts in tackling in-facility discrimination and stigma”, he said.
Some trainers and champions of HIV/AIDS in Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital received certificates for their work.
The ceremony was chaired by former Western Regional Focal Person for HIV/AIDS, Dr. Ronald Sowah. Also present at the ceremony were representatives of the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS and the Life Relief Foundation.