The Country Director of UNAIDS, Madam Angela Trenton-Mbonde, has urged society to endeavour to do away with HIV stigmatization and rather support persons living with HIV to enable them to live meaningful lives.
She expressed worry over the continuous stigmatization of young persons living with HIV, especially the young women in communities and homes, saying that should be avoided.
Speaking at the 20th Anniversary launch of the Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a local non-governmental organisation in Accra on Wednesday, Madam Trenton-Mbonde, who joined the ceremony virtually, said there was the need to do more to reduce the cases of abuse and injustice facing thousands of women and children in the world.
She said: "At the time of delivering this address, someone somewhere in Ghana, perhaps a young girl, is being ejected from home due to her HIV status or a single mother probably living in a rural community is lacking an income to feed herself and her children."
The theme for the anniversary of HFFG is: "20 years of promoting good health and gender equality through sustainable interventions; a foundation for the future."
Madam Trenton-Mbonde commended the organisation for its 20 years of existence and for doing its part to positively impact the lives of various groups of people, including the aged, women, young people, and persons with disabilities.
She said the UNAIDS had been following the activities and interventions of HFFG over the years and was elated by the strength and aptness of such a national NGO.
She stated that HFFG through its operations had expressed its full commitment and contribution to the call for sustainable development in Ghana through its various activities in its operational areas in the country.
Commenting on the achievements and contributions of HFFG to the health sector, the UNAIDS Country Director said through strong partnerships, the organisation had in the past years, contributed immensely towards preventive health, adding that statistics show that "your role in supporting people living with HIV in Ghana particularly, young people is unparalleled."
"Likewise, you have supported many others in accessing treatment and overcoming the stigma surrounding Tuberculosis".
The organisation has also empowered millions of people through its interventions in HIV programming and advocacy, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), maternal and child health, malaria, primary health care, skills training, sexual, reproductive health and rights, food and nutrition.
She urged HFFG to continue with its vision of championing equal opportunities for women, children, young people including persons with disabilities to develop their full potentials.
"As you have laid the foundations like a master builder as your theme suggests, it is time to add the pillars, the walls, the roofing to have a complete structure."
She asked HFFG to do more in renewing its commitment towards supporting the disadvantaged in society by adopting new strategies and leveraging stronger partnerships.
The Reverend Dr Abraham Nyarko, Board Chairperson of HFFG, narrated that for 20 years the organisation had kept its vision of empowering people to reach their full potentials through participatory strategies.
"We celebrate this day not because we are chronologically 20, not because we have survived, but we do so because, through the help of God and the sterling support of many stakeholders, government and its agencies, development partners and our communities, we have this much to show."
He said the anniversary, therefore, offered the opportunity to celebrate a job well done, reflect on the life of the organization and its achievements and look into a brighter future for HFFG.
He announced series of activities that had been earmarked for the celebration, including the continuation of its legacy project dubbed 'Pads for Girls everywhere,' which aimed at intensifying menstrual hygiene management among young girls and reducing menstrual poverty.
Other activities to be observed in the various regional offices include beneficiary and media engagements, video shows, a book launch, football gala and stakeholder engagements.
There would be a thanksgiving service in October to climax the celebration.
The event, which was virtually hosted, was also live on social media platforms and enabled staff in the regions and other stakeholders and well-wishers to join in.
Mrs Cecilia Senoo, Executive Director of HFFG, whose 60th birthday coincided with the 20th Anniversary launch of the organisation, expressed joy at the feat chalked so far and pledged to forge stronger partnerships and raise more local funding for its activities.