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Shell Ghana helps ‘save’ HIV infected children

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happyghana.com: Ghana helps ‘save’ HIV infected children

12/5/2008

Shell Ghana Limited has in fulfilment of its desire to cater for the needy and support the efforts of organisations working to bring relief to the needy, donated ten thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢10,000) for the provision of antiretroviral drugs and care for children infected with HIV in Ghana. 

Shell Ghana, which raised the funds through various initiatives by staff of the company, presented the money to officials of the Woyome Foundation for Africa (WOFA), an International HIV/AIDS Charity Organisation in Accra. WOFA, which is an Africa-wide organisation with offices in the USA and Europe, is in the forefront of education and practical interventions to prevent new infections. 

The organisation is also working to sustain children who are already infected, Orphans and Vulnerable Children in order to prevent them from abuse and the risks of HIV infection. This falls under its One-for-One Campaign aimed at ensuring the provision of ART drugs, medical care and support for children infected with HIV. 

Shell’s donation comes just days after WOFA released funds to three (3) HIV Treatment Centres across the country for the provision of antiretroviral drugs to infected children. About one hundred infected children including many who do not access health centres were covered under the first phase of the Foundation’s support under the One-for-One Campaign. 

Treatment centres that benefitted from the WOFA Support package announced on World AIDS Orphans Day (Wednesday May 7) include the Ridge Hospital, Ketu District Hospital and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Treatment Centres. 

“We chose the World AIDS Orphans Day to make available to the Treatment Centres, funds for a full years supply of antiretroviral drugs and boosters for the children to further demonstrate our quest to bring hope to infected and orphaned children” explains Vitus Nanbigne, WOFA’s Project Coordinator. 

Shell’s donation is the result of an HIV-AIDS campaign dubbed ‘the Shell Kilimanjaro HIV-AIDS Challenge’ which the company embarked on to raise funds to support kids infected by the virus and those orphaned by the disease. Under this campaign, staff of the company climbed the Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa in addition to raising funds, whip up support and awareness for the plight of HIV-AIDS infected and orphaned children.

Among the Shell Ghana staff who embarked on this drive, only Felicia Panyin Marfo and Dinah Imbeah-Ampiah succeeded, in literally, conquering Mount Kilimanjaro.
In addition to the Challenge, some staff who volunteered to help undertook other ventures including the auctioning of cookies to co-workers on World Aids Day, sending out of envelopes to raise funds and the organization of a Christmas party, all aimed at raising funds for their course.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the cheque to WOFA, the Managing Director and Country Chairman of Shell Ghana, Daniel Nunoo reiterated his company’s determination to help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the disease by taking care of children orphaned by the disease. 
This donation which forms part of the company’s social responsibility is also part of a collaborative effort by the Shell Group, operating internationally. Shell Ghana has also trained thirty-two (32) of its staff as peer educators to help educate relatives and other close pals of these workers about the virus, Mr Nunoo revealed. 

He disclosed that some staff members are desirous of adopting and caring for children orphaned by HIV-AIDS by directly providing for the cost of administering anti-retroviral drugs. Mr Nunoo therefore requested WOFA to put mechanisms in place to facilitate this noble course. 
Mr. Vitus Nanbigne was full of praise for Shell for the gesture, noting that Shell Ghana’s decision is even more pleasing because they started the efforts at raising funds for the course without any appeal from WOFA. 

Latest figures from the National AIDS Control Program indicate that there are close to 17,000 infected children in Ghana, with almost 3,000 new child infections every year. Out of this figure, more than 5,000 require ARTs, but less than 400 of them have access to the drugs and boosters. 

With many of the children also orphaned or their parents unable to take care of themselves, care and support becomes a huge responsibility. Mr. Nanbigne says the One-for-One Campaign, which aims at helping bring back hope to families and keep infected children alive is one of many initiatives and projects being undertaken by the Foundation with the support of other partners.

“The number of children infected by HIV need not rise if we take responsibility to stop further infections by adults and subsequently by children. Whilst scientists are working to develop effective vaccines, particularly paediatric preventions, such as preventing transmission through breast-feeding, people need to be more responsible by avoiding infections” he added. 

He also emphasized the fact that, WOFA has resolved to make accountability the hallmark of its operations so as to make those affected by HIV-AIDS the real beneficiaries of any funds raised by WOFA. 

http://www.happyghana.com/newsdetails.asp?id=3666&cat_id=17

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