Accra, Feb. 15, GNA - Society for Women Against AIDS in Africa (SWAA) -Ghana, an advocacy group, on Tuesday organised a medical screening on HIV and AIDS for 400 female porters (kayayee) drawn from the major markets in Accra.
The markets included Agbogbloshie and Mallam Atta markets and the Tema Station.
Mrs Nancy Ansah, President of SWAA-Ghana, told the GNA in an interview that the screening was also aimed to create awareness on the reproductive health rights of the porters for them to take good care of themselves.
The exercise also formed part of a three-day programme to sensitise the youth on the dangers of the HIV and AIDS and how to prevent themselves from catching the infection.
Mrs Ansah said Society had organised confidence building training, book keeping and education on reproductive health issues for another 20 porters to serve as peer educators to their friends.
She said when they tested positive; \"we make fellow ups to ensure that they visit the medical facility to acquire drugs but when it is otherwise they are made to know how to protect themselves especially with the use condoms\".
\"Continuous and consistent use of condoms is very important in controlling the spread of the virus,\" she said.
She said SWAA-Ghana was also seeking to support the porters to acquire vocations of their choice to start businesses that would enable them to have some measure of economic autonomy.
With the support of the Ghana AIDS Commission and the Johnson and Johnson, SWAA-Ghana, she said \"will continue to work until we see the drastic reduction in cases of HIV and AIDS\".
Anita Bamua, a 25-year-old participant, expressed appreciation to the SWAA-Ghana for the support given them and said \"We are also going to educate our colleagues in the markets so that they will also be empowered. We have learnt a lot, especially on how to communicate in public, do book keeping and manage our money in business, and also how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases,\" she said.
SWAA-Ghana has promised to sponsor Anita who is the Senior High School (SHS) graduate to further her education at the university in addition to others who want to continue their education at the Junior High School and SHS levels.
SWAA-Ghana is a branch of SWAA International, a Pan African Women\'s organization with its headquarters in Dakar, Senegal. It has branches in 42 African countries.