World AIDS Day: GHANET to organise HIV Self-Testing Health Walk SaturdayKenya Industrialisation Conference Kicks Off To Revitalise Manufacturing Sector

The Ghana HIV and AIDS Network (GHANET) will on Saturday organise a health walk to create awareness on HIV Self-Testing (HIVST).

The exercise, which is in collaboration with the Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+), and other stakeholders, is in commemoration of this year’s World AIDS Day.

Mr Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, President, GHANET, in a press release, said the walk would start from Ayi Mensah, Accra, at 0600 hours and end at Peduase, where there would be statements from government officials, development partners and civil society organisation leaders, as well as persons living with HIV (PLHIV).

It said special dignitaries, including a representative of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would be in attendance.

Side attractions will include onsite colour splashing, onsite face painting, live brass band music, live gyama music, live instructor-led aerobics, free condom distribution, free HIV self-testing kits, social networking, photo opportunities, and a Kenkey party.

Mr Ortsin said similar e
vents would take place across the country in some regional capitals.

In 1988 the UNAIDS designated the 1st of December as World AIDS Day (WAD) in remembrance of persons who had lost their lives to the then ravaging HIV and AIDS menace.

The Day was also to be used to create awareness about the pandemic and encourage people to protect and prevent themselves from getting infected.

The initiative was embraced by countries around the world and, since then, it has always been celebrated with both global and locally adapted themes.

This year, the theme for the WAD celebration is ‘Let Communities Lead’ aimed at inspiring persons infected and most affected by HIV and AIDS to take up roles and initiatives that can help end the disease as a public health concern by 2030.

In July this year, the Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, officially launched HIVST in Ghana.

At the time of the launch, the only approved form of self-testing, as per the country’s guidelines, was the oral method.

However, with the supp
ort of Global Fund, the Ministry of Health (MoH), through the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has successfully piloted the use of OraQuick HIVST in about 50 districts.

Whilst the pilot was ongoing, other HIVST methods were evaluated by the National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) to expand HIVST options in Ghana.

Following the success of the evaluations, the country has now revised its guidelines to include blood-based methods of HIVST.

This revision has opened a window of opportunity for companies such as Abbott to introduce its CheckNOW HIVST in the country, giving Ghanaians a variety of choices.

CheckNOW is a blood-based method of HIVST, which gives test results in just 15 minutes.

It is based on a 3rd generation HIVST technology, which detects HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies in a fingerstick blood sample.

The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) is optimistic that the multiplication of HIVST testing options will help the country to achieve the first 95 of the 95-95-95 UNAIDS targets.

Currently, only abo
ut 72 per cent of the estimated 354,000 persons living with HIV in Ghana know their status.

This means that about 100,000 PLHIV are not aware of their status and may be inadvertently spreading the virus.

Source: Ghana News Agency

The country’s first-ever Industrialisation Conference commenced today at the University of Nairobi, coinciding with Africa Industrialisation Day as part of efforts to rejuvenate Kenya’s industrial landscape.

The three-day conference revolves around the theme, ‘Accelerating African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation through Value Chain Integration for Shared Prosperity’.

Investments, Trade, and Industry Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano stressed the importance of Kenya positioning itself as Africa’s manufacturing hub of choice amid the ongoing development of the African free trade agenda.

Miano highlighted the need for Kenya and Africa to cultivate a robust manufacturing culture supported by well-designed systems.

‘This would lead to enhanced industrial output, production diversity, and economic growth,’ she argued.

‘Strategic focus on value chains, would contribute to improved economic outcomes not only in Kenya but throughout the continent,’ she added.

The CS expressed optimism about th
e future of industrialization, citing the AU Conference of Ministers’ resolve in 2007, leading to the adoption of the Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa.

She noted that the plan had recently been incorporated into the draft EAC Industrialization Policy and Strategy.

The Cabinet Secretary outlined four critical imperatives for Kenya’s industrialisation dream – quality and affordable energy, appropriate technologies, a skilled workforce, and finance for industrial development.

She pointed out that collaboration among multiple stakeholders, including both national and county governments, is crucial to achieving these goals.

Miano assured attendees that her Ministry would strive to improve the manufacturing environment in Kenya, fostering collaboration with the private sector and development partners.

She pledged deliberate strategies to attract domestic and foreign investments, ensuring that policies and frameworks align with the evolving needs of industrial transformation.

e CS called upon local manufacturers to adopt globally acclaimed sustainable industrial practices, starting with renewable energy.

She expressed hope that the conference would mark the beginning of a transformative industrial journey for Kenya, contributing to sustained economic prosperity in the future.

Juma Mukhwana, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry, acknowledged the persistent challenges faced by African countries in achieving substantial manufactured value added to GDP.

Despite industrialization being a campaign promise across the continent, Mukhwana stressed the need for concerted efforts to overcome these hurdles.

Lynette Luvai, the Deputy Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to Kenya, highlighted the pivotal role of industrialisation in catalyzing economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, and overall societal advancement.

Source: Kenya News Agency