Fiona Care Foundation (FCF), an NGO over the weekend took 78 orphans living with HIV and AIDS on an excursion of the Shai Hills Natural Reserve, as part of their programme to give the children a sense of social inclusion and emotional support and security.
Dubbed “Time with Orphans Living with HIV,” the children were taken on a hike to the Mongo Hills where they had the experience of climbing up the hills while feeling the natural ambience of the reserve as well as an expedition to the animal farm and museum in the reserve where they were educated on the history and evolution of the forest reserve.
The Executive member of FCF, Carl-Marx Nii Armah Hammond said the ‘Fun Day’ which was climaxed with a feast at the Motherly Love Foundation Orphanage (MLFO) in Accra was to restore hope to the children that despite, their health condition, they will loved and cared for by society and community..
He maintained that HIV related stigma and maladaptive coping strategies affected several domains of child psychosocial wellbeing which called for appropriate interventions and support to bring self recognition and appreciation to the children irrespective of their status.
Mr Hammond shared his sentiment at the status of the children aged between six and 21 years as being orphans and worse, HIV positive.
He recalled that the ravages of the novel COVID-19 rendered almost everyone self-absorbed at the neglect of the vulnerable including the HIV orphans and that was when FCF stepped in with support to the orphanage in various capacities.
Given the efforts being made globally and nationally to eradicate HIV and AIDS, Mr Hammond said the humanitarian gesture by FCF was in line with the campaign for joint support to national and local programmes to mitigate marginalisation, stigmatisation and help prevent infections among adolescents.
He appealed to the government to intensify its support to the Ghana AIDS Commission, hospitals and health facilities as other stakeholders join in the fight against the disease.
An HIV/AIDS Ambassador, Reverend John Azumah who is the proprietor of MLFO urged government to attach prominence to the plight of orphans living with HIV and AIDS in the national HIV policy.
To him, though there was Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) coverage for children in the HIV and AIDS policy framework, there had not been a well defined integrated policy for orphans in terms of prevention, treatment, care and support.
As the revised national HIV policy sought to capture all perspectives and concerns about the national response’s ability to support Ghana in creating a favourable environment in which AIDS could be eliminated by 2030, Rev. Azumah was of the view that neglect of orphans living with the disease could either exacerbate the menace or impede efforts targeted at eliminating it.
FROM KEN AFEDZI, SHAI HILLS