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New African Effort to Build AIDS Research Center in Ghana


In Ghana -- a new effort to fight AIDS in Africa. The Africa Life Aid Project is the creation of the Ghana-based charity the Woyome Foundation for Africa, which is pressing for interventions in the fight against the disease. Voice of America English to Africa Service reporter Lameck Masina says the Africa Life Aid Project includes a series of events to raise funds to fight the pandemic.

At the top of its wish list is the construction of a multipurpose Skills Development Center in Accra, estimated at US $ 250 million. There, young people – regardless of their HIV-status -- will be taught a trade and receive an education about how to prevent the spread of HIV/ AIDS.

Vitus Nanbigne is the project coordinator for WOFA. He describes the proposed facility, “Actually, the hospital will have 350 rooms, it will contain an HIV/AIDS research facility with modern equipment and will be open to all researchers. And we intend also alongside this research center to establish a research fellowship in collaboration with the existing HIV research institutions.”

Alfred Woyome is the president of the project. He says among the fundraising activities is the One-for-One Campaign, geared towards generating funds to support the nutritional and other health needs of children living with HIV / AIDS. In Ghana, less than 10 percent of infected children have access to the life prolonging antiretroviral drugs.

Donors will be asked to contribute about $100.00 to the campaign, which would allocate enough money for an adult to care for an HIV-infected child for one year. The money would include the price of anti-retroviral drugs.

Another planned activity is a live AIDS concert with proceeds going to the Africa Life Aid Project. The first concert is scheduled for 2008 in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. Afterwards, it will be held every two years in the country that hosts the Africa Cup of Nations Football tournament. It will include internationally known football stars, musicians and other celebrities.

Woyome says the events are aimed at persuading Africans to get involved in the fight against the disease, “We also wanted to ensure the Africans that there is more blessing in giving than receiving. They should not just put down their hands to receive. So what we are intending to do and achieve is to create a whole community of people who are trying to help.”

Woyome says the Africa Life Aid project was formed in 2002 by a group of dedicated young people who believe that the HIV/ AIDS pandemic in Africa can be managed effectively, even stopped by Africans themselves.

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