A Total of 17 residents in the Tema Metropolis died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) during the first quarter of this year.
Robert Kempes Ofosuware, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive who announced this on Monday in his Sessional Address during the Assembly’s First Ordinary Meeting for the First Session of the Sixth Assembly said, over 400 people also tested positive for HIV during the same period.
He said a total of 119 HIV patients were also put on anti-retroviral drugs in the first quarter of this year.
“It appears that our efforts in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic are yet to make any impact since the growth rate has skyrocketed by 100 percent,” he indicated.
The MCE further stated that available statistics showed that the prevalence rate of the disease within the Metropolis reduced from 3.6 percent in 2006 to 2.0 percent in 2009 but lamented that “this suddenly surged to 4.0 percent in 2010.”
Mr. Ofosuware pointed out that it was important to appreciate that HIV/AIDS was no longer a mere health issue but also a social and economic one, considering the large segment of the population that had been affected by the disease.
This, he said called for careful design and application of the right mix of strategies that were multifaceted in character.
He gave the assurance that the Assembly would pursue pragmatic strategies to respond to the spread of the epidemic within the Metropolis.
The MCE disclosed that his outfit was embarking on some programmes such as educational campaigns to sensitize residents including pupils and students on the dangers of the disease and the need to abstain from casual and unprotected sex.
Other programmes, he said included the organization of capacity building for implementation partners as well as the implementation of a workplace policy on HIV/AIDS and supporting people living with HIV.
The MCE indicated that the Metropolis also recorded 57 cases of Cholera between January and April this year, out of which two people lost their lives.