Queen Mothers in Ghana Support AIDS Orphans

06/10/2011 - A queen mothers' charity in Ghana's Eastern region is caring for AIDS orphans. Another organization is working to ensure that HIV-positive women can access their property and inheritances, sometimes vital sources of family support.

The Manya Krobo Queen Mothers Association (MKQMA) in Kroko, Eastern Region, Ghana, has identified more than 1,000 orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS-related illnesses. The assessment was made following a series of home visits conducted by the organization.
Ghana has an overall adult HIV-prevalence rate of 1.8 per cent. Almost 15 per cent of the country’s 1.1 million orphans have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS.

The Association is providing shelter, food, clothing, health care and education to vulnerable children, such as AIDS orphans. Each queen member is taking responsibility for one to six children, all of whom are said to be doing quite well living in environments where they do not face HIV-related discrimination.

Manye Nartekie is the President of the MKQMA, which was formed to help women and children stricken by HIV and AIDS. She disclosed the group’s findings at the Eastern Regional stakeholders’ meeting in Koforidua yesterday, where a strategic plan on controlling HIV and AIDS was discussed.

One of the queen mothers’ achievements has been to integrate the children into their local communities, taking them out of isolated existence at orphanages. The MKQMA has also been able to conduct HIV sensitization campaigns and establish income-generating activities to enhance the financial security of women in the area.

Support for the MKQMA comes from the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ghana Health Service, African Women Development Fund, Paramount Chief of Manya Krobo, and other traditional authorities. Ms. Nartek thanked all of them for their generous support and appealed for further donations to ensure that the Association’s programmes can be implemented holistically, branching out into new areas such as maternal health.

Another organization working to boost the well-being of women is FIDA-Ghana. Under its property and inheritance rights project, the organization has begun to provide legal aid to women living with HIV. FIDA-Ghana Project Manager of, Mr. Bawa Faisal, announced that 800 community members would be targeted under this assistance programme.

Large numbers of women living with HIV have no access to property or have lost their inheritances due to discrimination from their families or communities. In addition, poverty and literacy limit women’s empowerment – their ability to demand their rights.

With funding from United Nations Women, FIDA-Ghana will remedy the structural inequalities preventing women in the Eastern and Volta Regions from accessing their material rights.

Yesterday, Ghana received US$127 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The funds will be dedicated to job creation, increasing incomes, enhancing education quality, boosting basic education rates, and improving health care at the community, district and regional levels. Of the funds, $70.5 million will improve health services delivery related to HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and reproductive health, child health, water supply, sanitation, nutrition and higher education.