HIV/AIDS affect many people in many countries in Africa. According to the 2009 HIV sentinel survey, an estimated 267.069 people live with HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Old Fadama, an Accra slum community with a population of over 79,000 people Is not exempt from the problem. In response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the government of Ghana aids commission which coordinates the efforts of international organizations, NGOS and other parties to educate Ghanaians about prevention and treatment throughout the nation.
However, because the government does not recognize the residents of old Fadama as legal citizens of Ghana, national HIV/AIDS campaigns and programmes do not reach the community. So, they organized one on their own. Members of the old Fadama development association (OFADA) have organized and run HIV/AIDS activities and programs for the people of old Fadama since the early 1980s (when old Fadama was first established).
According to Mr. Imoro Toyibo, the OFADA secretary and a local HIV/AIDS activist, the association members normally perform dances and dramas to educate their peers about the dangers of HIV and AIDS- how it is transmitted and how to protect yourself from it. Through this visual form of education, even illiterate community members are able to understand the important messages. Since starting their programs, Toyibo cannot recall any recent cases of infected residence and can only confirm one case where a Local died from HIV/aids four years ago.
The greater Accra region has an HIV/AIDS infection rate of 3.5%- the third highest rate in the country after the eastern region and with the highest prevalence level of 4.2% a3.9%. HIV/AIDS prevalence is generally higher in urban areas
employable skills they were forced to enter the sex industry to make ends meet.
“Most of these girls do not know anything about hiv/aids.” Says shei. “ sometimes they get to know about it(hiv/aids awareness) if we are doing our campaigns”. He says.
Shei also identify the kayayei population and other traders as risky groups who contribute to the spread ofhiv/aids in old fadama. People who do not reside in the slum but only come and go for a few days and don’t bother to check their hiv status. But without any form of government health monitoring agencies or proper censuss information In old fadama, it is
“ you know our community here is slum and we do not take record of who comes in and out and that has been our major concern,” says shie. With the help of American Jewish world service ,an international ngo,ofada members were able to get access to condoms which the ngo also helped distribute to brothels,sex workers and ten public outlets in the community. But, they still need more support.
The ofada hiv/aids activists all the work on a voluntary basis. They have other jobs in addition to their activism work in order to in order to make a living. Despite their best best efforts, they simply do not have the time, proper resources or manpower to run effective ,wide reaching hiv/aids campaigns.
Ghana is committed to achieving the united nations millilenium development goals including target 6.A to “ have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS”. This applies to all citizens of Ghana, including those living in old Fadama. Toyibo calls on the government to support the people of old Fadama in their fight against HIV/AIDS. “ we want the government and more especially the Ghana aids commission and other health organizations to help us” he says. “we need testing and counseling at least every month.” still, with or without the government’s help, members of OFADA say they will continue running their programmes in the effect to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in old Fadama