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Blind woman raped,unfortunately gave birth to a HIV+ baby.

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This is not a tale told in a movie, it is the sad story of a 44-year-old blind woman, Hajara Laila, (not her real name) who was raped by an unknown man some months ago here in Accra.

Vulnerable and struggling to survive, Hajara Laila laid bare her chilling story to GHOne News’ Alice Aryeetey.

For more than 30 years, 44-year-old Laila (not her real name) has been living with visual impairment.

Laila went blind between the ages of 10 and 11 after getting an eye infection, what is termed locally as “apolo”, but her mother, who also got blind six days before she (Laila) was born, could not help save her sight.

Although life has not been rosy, her life had meaning, until that fateful day when she was raped by someone she had no idea about.

The unknown man forcefully had sex with her. “I did not go to the hospital afterwards because I did not think I would conceive, but even after realizing I was pregnant, I did not want to abort the innocent baby and I cannot also figure out who he is”, said Laila.

According to her, two months after the rape incident, she noticed some changes in her body and visited the hospital for a check-up; only to be told she was pregnant and had contracted HIV.

Laila is convinced she contracted HIV from her rapist because she had not been diagnosed previously with the condition.

Two weeks ago, she gave birth to a bouncy baby girl, who unfortunately was diagnosed with HIV.

Health experts have indicated HIV can be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy – when the foetus is infected by HIV crossing the placenta, or through an infected mother’s cervical secretions or blood or during breastfeeding.

Although there are interventions to prevent mother to child HIV transmission through several strategies which cover the entire period from pregnancy to infant feeding, Laila did not notice she was pregnant at an early stage and started antenatal at a point when the foetus had already been infected.

Drowned in tears, she said she used to beg for alms in vehicles and was a member of a physically challenged singing band that sang at vantage points to make a living for herself.

But now, she had to stop and stay home to take care of her baby and herself, amid untoward hardship.

“Life has been really tough for me because I have never known peace nor joy in my entire life. The one who could have supported me is my mother, but she is also blind and incapacitated. Food, clothing and proper shelter have eluded us, even where I live now is not safe,” Laila said sadly.

Approximately six women are likely to be raped every week, according to a six-year statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service released in 2017.

Crime rate across the country, according to the Ghana Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) also increased marginally in the first quarter of 2018.

These staggering figures and the sad story of Laila, makes one wonders what the Department of Social Development under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection have been doing to ensure the safety of women, especially the more vulnerable ones with some forms of disability.

According to the Director of the Social Welfare Department, Gbeawu Daniel Y. Nonah, the best thing to have been done by the raped blind woman was to report to the police for the criminal to be arrested, but since she is not able to identify the rapist, that will be difficult.

“Most at times, when people have challenges, they need to go to the social welfare office to tell them about the problem they are facing, then whatever we are able to do to assist the person we do that.

“At times we do referrals (because) we might not have money so at times we put such needy persons on TV for people to help in difficult situations or send them to the destitute infirmary at Ashanti Bekwai. For her children or child, what we sometimes do as Social Welfare department is to take the children from the parents and keep them temporary until the parents are able to find their feet to be able to cater for them then we give them back to the parents,” said Mr Nonah.

Human Rights Lawyer, Francis Xavier Sosu, is not enthused about the handling of most vulnerable persons in society. As the founder of the Treasure of Life Foundation, with the aim of providing help to the vulnerable in society, he hopes to find some help for Laila, but not without some challenges.

“Why would someone even attempt or go ahead to rape a blind woman? That’s the first question, and it tells you how the moral fibre of our society has broken down completely. These stories are untold stories, if you are there, you may think they never exist but we have very wicked people in our society and that’s how come someone will go ahead to rape a blind woman and in the process leave her with HIV/AIDS, and because she did not have all the counselling and support from the beginning, she goes ahead to deliver a baby who is HIV positive”, he stated.

The human rights lawyer added that every single life counts, hence the state should be interested in every life.

Xavier Sosu, who has in the past helped many vulnerable people get justice in society said he would have ensured the assailant ends up in jail, but unfortunately, the victim cannot identify the rapist.

He is, therefore, courting for support for the blind woman and the child to help get them out of their current condition of hardship.

Laila and her new-born baby now live on antiretroviral drugs daily for survival, while battling financial and economic hardships. She said her life will be much better with a safer and better accommodation as the wooden structure in which she lives with her baby, puts her at risk daily.

She also hopes to join a singing band or form one again with her musical instruments, which are being kept somewhere for her by a Good Samaritan.

With a soothing silky voice, Laila, who receives some guidance from an HIV/AIDS model of hope, anticipates help will find her and her unborn baby soon.

Source: Ghana/Starrfmonline.com/Alice Aryeetey, GHOne News

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COVID-19: Which African airlines are taking off and when?

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Since 25 June, Royal Air Maroc began operating a portion of its domestic flights (Agadir, Dakhla, Laâyoune, and Oujda) from its Casablanca hub, followed by its other hubs, Marrakech and Tangier. The low-cost airline Air Arabia Maroc will also resume operations on the same date, while Air Côte d’Ivoire will reopen for business on 26 June.

However, for many airlines, the situation is less certain. The pan-African carrier ASKY Airlines, which provides service to destinations from Lomé, is waiting for African countries to open their borders before making any announcements. Similarly, Air Algérie has not announced an operations resumption date. Plagued by major financial difficulties, Air Mauritius is set to get back to business on 1 September, whereas RwandAir has suspended its flights until further notice.

On 25 June, Egypt Air said it would resume international flights gradually as of 1 July. The first round from 1 – 7 July will include: Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto, and Washington DC (among others).

As of 8 June, South Africa’s Airlink began taking bookings, while Safair began flights on 15 June. Mango, the low-cost airline of the near-bankrupt South African Airways (SAA) group, also resumed domestic flights as of 15 June.

South Africa has banned leisure travel until the 5-phase lockdown is entirely lifted. It is currently at level 3.

Many questions if South African Airways will be able to resume international flights given it was struggling with bankruptcy prior to the pandemic. A vote by SAA creditors has been postponed to July 16.

The gradual reopening of borders

In the intercontinental segment, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways will be providing service to Paris, Geneva, and Brussels in July, but with a reduced flight schedule. After a controversy sparked by the posting of a fake flight schedule on social media in May, Air France has listed several African capitals in its flight plan for July: Conakry, Cotonou, Douala, Yaoundé, Nouakchott, and Tunis. The airline is currently preparing landing authorization requests for the various countries concerned.

Resurrecting flights from Europe is pinned on both the ability to receive authorization from national civil aviation authorities and the reopening of the Schengen Area. In mid-June, the ECOWAS Ministerial Coordinating Committee for Transport, Logistics, Free Movement, and Trade recommended a gradual reopening of air borders: 15 July for flights between member states, 22 July for flights to non-member African countries and 1 August for intercontinental flights.

These projected dates come up against two obstacles: the health situation is neither clear nor stabilized in several African countries and fears about a second wave remain high in Europe. As a result, no one wants to be responsible for potentially importing cases in either direction.

For passengers, new restrictions are surfacing. For example, Congolese nationals stuck in Paris who want to get on an Air France repatriation flight will have to provide proof that they were tested for COVID-19 before boarding the flight upon their arrival in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. Once they have disembarked, they will have to undergo another COVID-19 screening and quarantine at a hotel.

Air Senegal targets mid-July for Paris flights

Airlines think it will take a while for businesses to return to pre-pandemic levels. Air Côte d’Ivoire, whose operations are currently limited to domestic destinations (Korogho, San Pedro, Bouaké, Man, and Odienné), accordingly plans on a gradual return to its normal service schedule: in a first phase, 25% of flights will resume, before increasing to 50%, all the while having no intention of giving up its expansion strategy in the long-haul segment.

Another example is that of Air Senegal, which resumed its service to Ziguinchor this past weekend, a destination it will get back to serving daily as of next week. While Senegal’s borders are to remain closed until 30 June, the young company, which sent all of its pilots to France to take a “refresher” flight simulator course, plans, according to our sources, to resume flights to Abidjan (four times a week, initially) and to Praia in mid-July. Air Senegal hopes to get back to operating flights to destinations such as Conakry, Bamako, Casablanca, Barcelona, and Marseille in early August, and, starting in September, Ouagadougou, Niamey, Accra, and Lagos. This means the airline could be operating 80% of its pre-pandemic flights at the end of August. Air Senegal will begin offering daily service to Abidjan in October if traffic allows for it.

The airline will know in the coming days if it will be able to resume its service to Paris in mid-July, as it hopes, with an initial schedule of five flights a week. “We can’t figure out how high demand will be. We don’t want to be in overcapacity, but we assume there will always be a segment of travelers who are flying to visit their loved ones,” says a source from Air Senegal, which is set to receive its two A321s in September and October and was the beneficiary of government grants of 45bn CFA francs (€68.5m), an amount which surpasses its target for the funding round scheduled in 2021.

Long-term schedule reductions

For the main West African operators, the crisis could bring about a more streamlined offering, while just before the pandemic many players were battling over small markets. “There were 320,000 seats available for flights between Abidjan and Dakar in a market with 150,000 to 170,000 passengers. The end result is that planes were operating at between 50% and 70% capacity.

The most predatory airlines will surely be more cautious and no longer operate as many flights as before,” says an executive from a West African carrier, adding that Brussels Airlines suspends its stopovers in Conakry and Ouagadougou when Kenya Airways and Vueling reduce their flight schedules.

What’s more, the financial situation of certain players like Air Burkina and Camair-Co, which have temporarily laid off their employees, makes a quick resumption of service more hypothetical than anything else.

Several firms are currently working on air traffic recovery scenarios for carriers and airports. “Three different realities are possible: traffic will fully resume despite the presence of COVID-19 cases, traffic will resume between certain countries that reopened their borders and traffic will resume without any particular restrictions in the absence of no new COVID-19 cases,” says Jean-Marc Bourreau, Global Director of Aviation at the Canadian firm CPCS. He is not counting on a broad-based rebound of air traffic.

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Man Rapes 6-Year-Old Girl In 7 Thunder Church In Owukpa

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A man identified as Patrick Onoja Igah, a native of Ogwurute Itabono Owukpa, was mercilessly beaten by an angry mob for allegedly raping a 6-year-old girl (name withheld).

IDOMAVOICE gathered that Mr. Patrick, famously known as Omolomo, was caught pants down while having carnal knowledge of the underage at the premises of 7 Thunder Church located in Akparoji.

Irked by his abominable act, some angry youths pounced on him, tied him, and gave him the beating of his life until he fainted.

Patrick, believed to be in his late 30, was handed over to the local vigilante who will hand him over to the police for immediate prosecution.

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New Verna Water Comes With Vitamins & Folic Acid

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Take hydration to a new height with the new Verna Active Water, available in lemon and strawberry flavours and fortified with folic acid, vitamins and electrolytes essential to keep you hydrated and active for a long time.

Verna Active Water is prized by many for its soft, balanced and gentle round flavour with lots of lemon citrus and strawberry. And it’s easy to drink by itself.
Proudly made in Ghana by industrial giant, Twellium Industrial Company, producers of Verna Mineral Water, Rush Energy Drink, Mcberry Biscuits and many more. Verna Active Water is a testament of the company’s promise to give consumers choices. With a tall list of water, non- alcoholic drinks, biscuits and more, tailored to meet the taste and preferences of consumers. This is yet another promise fulfilled against the background of its extensive experience in the beverage and water industry.

Verna Active Water is the new scientifically formulated drink with folic acid and electrolytes that come in a signature bottle and enhanced with vital vitamins to boost your immune system.
Need the right motivation and enthusiasm to face your most challenging days? Try the thirst- quenching Verna Active Water with pleasant lemon and strawberry flavour to give you the best during the day.

For anyone who lives an active lifestyle and need motivation to combat each task one step at a time. Verna Active Water is the smart choice for athletics, workers and students. 3-time bantamweight world champion, Joseph Agbeko says he drinks Verna Active Water because it contains all the essential nutrients for his active life. Verna Active Water is water for hydration, has a natural fruit flavor and best complements your active life.

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