The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has presented 345 copies of HIV Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Braille materials to the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) to aid in the education of members on safe sex.
Mr Steve Kyeremeh Atuahene, the Acting Director General of GAC, who presented the materials, said the Commission had financial support from the UNFPA to translate “How to use Condom” into Braille to ensure that persons with visually impaired are able to protect themselves from new HIV infections.
He said since the implementation of the National Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020, the GAC had made conscious efforts to build strong partnership with the Association of Persons with Disability (PWDs).
“Over the years, the GAC has been engaging them to discuss and agree on best ways to provide targeted services to PWDs, and one of the recommendations from the PWDs was the need to translate key HIV IEC materials into disability friendly forms,” he added.
Mr Atuahene said the Commission’s programmes must also be friendly to the hearing impaired by using sign languages to reach out to them. ”As a nation we need to take HIV/AIDS seriously. We are taking HIV for granted and people are not taking responsibility for their health, which has led to an increase in new cases, especially among the adolescence,” he said.
He pledged the GAC’s commitment to continue engaging with the Association of PWDs and the Disability Council to ensure they received comprehensive targeted HIV interventions. Mr Bismark Amoh, the Project Officer of the GBU, who received the materials on behalf of the Union, expressed gratitude to the Commission for its efforts and urged the authorities to consider alternatives including audios and electronic braille to enable them to reach out to majority of their members.
Ms Elizabeth Agbettor, the Programme Manager of GBU, called for collaboration between the Union and the Commission to reach out to more members, especially the youth, who form 42 per cent of the total membership.