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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PREVENTING HIV INFECTION: Global Youth Partners
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Ghana

Youth Partner

Name: Godwin Etse Sikanku
Age: 22
Nationality: Ghanaian
Affiliated Organization:

African Youth Alliance (AYA) Youth Adivsory Board (YAB), Regional Youth Caucus- Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana-Legon, Legon Debating Society

Etse Sikanku is a final year Political Science major at the University of Ghana, where he has studied Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, and language skills. As a member of AYA-YAB, he is part of a team that advises AYA’s youth and adolescent programmes, participates in workshops, trainings, and peer education, and works with the Media, Communications, and Advocacy Network. He is part of the African Regional Youth Initiative where he has been part of youth consultations to review national youth policy, and has attended regional meetings. Etse is the Youth Representative to the Regional Youth Caucus of the CYP. He works actively with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and the National Youth Council to implement the four main strategic focus areas of the CYP in Ghana, which are: youth education; work and training; youth network and governance; youth participation; and youth enterprise development.

Etse enjoys soccer, debating, and public speaking. As a senior secondary school student, he featured in a number of major debates in his school, was the Managing Editor of the school magazine, “The Siren” where he later became a Research Officer. He has made a number of presentations on behalf of youth on several issues including HIV prevention, youth participation, addressing vulnerability, gender, and democracy, and Pan-Africanism. Etse became involved in media advocacy during his junior school years when he took part in several television and radio shows. He has also been involved in volunteer, community entry programmes, and peer education programmes on SRH and HIV/AIDS.

Etse respects the positive side of people he meets. He adores his mother for her strength and passion, and takes inspiration from Dr. Robert Mensah for his personality, as well as from his peers working on youth “who make our communities, nations, regions, and the world a better place to live.”

 

UNFPA in Ghana

With a total population of over 20 million, the Government of Ghana believes that the country’s fertility level, including the adolescent fertility rate, is too high. In response, the Government is offering direct support to increase access to modern contraceptive methods, and supports communication activities and sex education in schools. Ghana’s population policy encourages partnerships with non-governmental organizations, religious organizations and traditional leaders, and promotes the integration of population and gender concerns into the planning, design and implementation of development programmes.

In 2003, the median prevalence of HIV in Ghana was 3.6%. Mean prevalence in the 15-19 age group was 1.9%, and 3.0% in the 15-24 age group. Trends in HIV prevalence show no consistent decline but rather a steady increase. It is estimated that 365,000 Ghanaians are living with HIV and AIDS. The impact of the epidemic in Ghana cannot be overstated; all sectors are affected, and the increasing demand on health care services such as palliative care, management of opportunistic diseases and anti-retroviral therapy will put pressure on the already fragile health care system. Increased mortality among young people, rising numbers of orphans and vulnerable children, and a reduced labor force will negatively affect the socioeconomic status of Ghanaians.

The Government of Ghana has responded by facilitating a multi-sectoral approach to planning, implementing and monitoring appropriate prevention, care and support interventions. The Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service plays a leading role in these efforts, including the provision of strategic information for monitoring the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The area of HIV/AIDS and youth has been one of the key programs for the UNFPA Ghana country program. The African Youth Alliance (AYA) is a four-country effort to apply proven HIV prevention approaches on a wider scale. AYA youth representatives provide input to NGOs, international agencies and the Ministry of Health on training programmes for doctors and other health professionals to deliver youth-friendly reproductive health services. Young Ghanaians are part of AYA’s Media Communications and Advocacy Network, a group on SRH and HIV. Some members are from a youth-driven media advocacy group called “Curious Minds,” and run a radio programme on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. Peer education is another key focus and was used in the West African Youth Initiative Project used peer interventions to make reproductive health information, education, counselling and services more accessible for in-school and out-of-school young people. The project operated through grassroots youth organizations and depended on community involvement. It had significant effects on participants’ knowledge and behavior, including increased condom use.

Sources: http://www.unfpa.org/profile/ghana.cfm
  State of World Population 2003: Investing in Adolescents’ Health and Rights, UNFPA 2003, 2003 HIV Sentinel Survey
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