Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE National House of Chiefs (NHC) is set to implement a front-line HIV/AIDS project aimed at building a preventive community culture in all the 139 traditional areas of the country, with the aim of curtailing the spread of the disease.
Dubbed, “Traditional Authorities in National HIV/AIDS Initiative, Traditional Leaders’ Version of District Response Initiative”, the project, to be launched in Kumasi on March 11, this year, seeks to integrate all preventable health diseases into the entire project.
One significant aspect of the project is that the traditional authorities would move away from the workshop approach to a more practical project development and implementation management.
The house will launch a “weaning development fund” to be known as the National House of Chiefs’ HIV/AIDS Fund to support the implementation.
At a news conference in Kumasi to launch the programme of action towards the launch of the project on March 11, this year, the President of the House, Odeneho Gyapong Ababio II, said as the apex body representing the interest and future of the chieftaincy institution nationally, the NHC had a duty to contribute meaningfully to the fight against the disease, which was threatening mankind.
He noted the broad nature of chieftaincy in the country and said, “we believe if we join all stakeholders in educating our people on the danger the disease poses, we are likely to succeed”.
Odeneho Ababio noted with concern the rate at which many children were being orphaned by HIV/AIDS, a situation which had a telling effect on their future and said, this was a challenge to the chiefs to go the extra mile to help change the situation for the better.
Elaborating on the fund to be instituted by the house to manage the project, the NHC President said the various traditional councils would be expected to establish their own HIV/AIDS health fund as a pre-condition to benefiting from NHC’s central funding.
“By this, the NHC Fund will serve as a complementary source to build the capacity of the traditional councils to sustain the initiative”, he said.
He called for support from the government, the private sector, NGOs and the house’s development partners to enable the project become a success.
The consultant to the project, Mr Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, noted that the absence of a common project framework for HIV/AIDS/ and health interventions by the house had left the regional houses of chiefs and traditional councils without any definite system of implementing, managing and co-ordinating HIV/AIDS/ and health programmes in the country.
This, he noted, had not helped in drawing the entire chieftaincy institution into the national HIV/AIDS/health crusade and, therefore, expressed the hope that the new project would help bring sanity into the system.