Essien, John Mensah support HIV kids

essien.jpg International football stars, Michael Essien
of Chelsea FC and Black Stars skipper John Mensah of Rennes, France,
will this afternoon visit and interact with children diagnosed of HIV
in Accra.

Essien
and Mensah will be visiting the children under the auspices of the
Woyome Foundation for Africa (WOFA), an HIV/AIDS Charity Organisation
which has been supporting the cause of HIV infected persons in Ghana
and Africa.

A statement issued by the Foundation explained
that Michael Essien and John Mensah are ambassadors of the Foundation
working to support the One-for-One campaign which aims at assisting
with the provision of antiretroviral drugs, boosters, nutritional
support and care to especially infected children.

The two
football stars who late last year supported an art exhibition to raise
funds for the campaign will be visiting one of the beneficiary centres,
the Ridge Hospital to interact with the children and the nurses.

A
statement by the Woyome Foundation said it has released funds for the
supply of antiretroviral drugs to over one hundred and eighty HIV
infected children over one year. “The campaign has brought hope to
hundreds of infected children who can now walk into any of the
beneficiary treatment centres and receive their supply of drugs and
boosters.”

According to WOFA, this has been possible through
the support of Ambassadors Michael Essien, John Mensah, the staff of
Shell Ghana and many other supportive institutions.

“If we are
going to adequately respond to the HIV and AIDS crisis, it is critical
that we focus greater attention on the children who are being left
behind by the pandemic” the statement explained.

Gloomy statistics

According to the National AIDS Control Programme, 2,333 children
under-15 died of AIDS-related diseases in 2007. Also in 2007, over
5,000 children were estimated to be in need of antiretroviral therapy
but only 597 received treatment. Currently, there are over 17,000
children estimated to be living with HIV.

The
WOFA one-for-one campaign which is ensuring the supply of
antiretroviral drugs is thus a timely occurrence, and this afternoon,
Michael Essien and John Mensah will visit the Ridge Hospital to find
out how the children are doing.

Treatment centres that have so
far benefited from the one-for-one campaign include the Ridge Hospital,
Ketu District Hospital, Ada Government Hospital, Cape Coast Hospital
and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.