From Despair to Hope Book Launch

On Tuesday the 1st of September, 2020 at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Accra a book was written by a Ghanaian Pharmacist, Abraham Gyesie titled FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE – THE HIV AND AIDS STORY OF PAPA KOFI AND HIS FAMILY was officially launched on behalf of H.E. The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo by Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission. The Chairman of the event was Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I, Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries who deputised for Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Omanhene of Juaben Traditional Area and Chairman of the Council of State.

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GOODWILL MESSAGES were delivered by several dignitaries including the following:

  1. Dr Baafour Awuah on behalf of Hon. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health.
  2. Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, a former President of the Ghana Medical Association and former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service.
  3. Pharm Dr Mrs Martha Gyansah Lutterodt, Director of Technical Coordination of the Ministry of Health.
  4. Mrs Yvonne Yirenkyiwaa Esseku, Provost of the Ghana College of Pharmacists.
  5. Nana Okanta Ofori I, Executive Secretary of the OTC Medicine Sellers Association.

A PANEL DISCUSSION ON HIV AND AIDS moderated by Pharm Naa Okailey Adamafio-Manteau – Country Manager for Denk Pharma followed.

The SPEAKERS were

  • Mrs Angela Trenton-Mbonde, UNAIDS Director for Ghana
  • Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General, Ghana AIDS Commission
  • Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager, National AIDS/STIs Control Programme

The Book was then reviewed by Mr Ibrahim Kwaku Gyasi, retired Headmaster of T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School followed by Auctioning/ Fundraising by Nana Fredua Agyeman Pambuo, Host of Ghana Means Business TV Programme. This was followed by the introduction of the Author by Pharm. Benjamin Botwe, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana and Past Rector of the Ghana College of Pharmacists.

Pharm Abraham Gyesie then delivered a short address to thank everyone for their participation and then called for Sponsors and Partners to ensure that:

  1. The story of Papa Kofi and his family is told in all the communities in Ghana and beyond.
  2. That the pledges of support by the Ghana AIDS Commission, National AIDS/ STIs Control Programme, The Ministry of Health and others are concretised into MOUs and implementation.
  3. The Ghana Education Service adopts this book as a mandatory supplementary reader in all our Senior High Schools.
  4. The book is translated into French.
  5. The book is made into a film that can be shown all over Africa and beyond.
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Chairperson, in his closing remarks, called for a standing ovation for Abraham Gyesie for the good work he is doing for Ghana which was duly accorded.

The book launch planning committee comprised the following: Pharm Rev. Dennis Awitty (Co-ordinator), Pharm Dr Angela Ackon and Pharm Kwabena Asante Offei (Masters of Ceremony), Pharm Naa Okailey Adamafio-Manteau (Moderator for the panel discussion on HIV and AIDS) and PHARMEDIA.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abraham Gyesie was born in Kumasi, Ghana on 14th October 1943. He is a Pharmacist by profession and a pharmaceutical services and business development consultant. He is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Fellow of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists and a Fellow of the Ghana College of Pharmacists. He served as a member of the third Pharmacy Council of Ghana. He is a keen advocate for sustainable youth development programmes and teamwork among health professionals for better healthcare delivery. He has four grown-up children (one lady and three gentlemen) who assisted him in creating the story of Papa Kofi and his family.

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ABOUT THE BOOK

FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE – THE HIV AND AIDS STORY OF PAPA KOFI AND HIS FAMILY

The story of Papa Kofi and his family is narrated in such a way that it covers virtually all the pertinent issues of HIV/AIDS prevention and the humane care for those infected and affected by the virus. The story and the information therein is presented in a format based on the traditional African concept of storytelling. The question and answer format in each chapter serve as a means of imparting knowledge, wisdom and skills in very simple language.

The story and the information therein is presented in a format based on the traditional African concept of storytelling. The question and answer format in each chapter serve as a means of imparting knowledge, wisdom and skills in very simple language.

FINAL REVIEW AND EDITING OF THE BOOK

The final review and editing of the book were jointly done by GHANA AIDS COMMISSION and NATIONAL AIDS/STIs CONTROL PROGRAMME.

ENDORSEMENTS

EXTRACTS FROM THE FOREWORD BY MR. I. K. GYASI, Former Headmaster of Ahmadiyya Senior High School, Kumasi.

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In Chapter after Chapter, Mr. Gyesie takes the reader through the whole process: the discovery of the Infection, the information about the various sexually-related diseases but with emphasis on HIV/ AIDS, the counselling by the qualified health personnel, the availability of antiretroviral drugs, and the decision of the Chief of Kuropapa to get involved in the campaign to educate the people on the infection.

The story format, the simplicity of the language and the choice of names for the characters make the book easy to read and the information easy to absorb.

All health personnel who have to deal with HIV and AIDS should keep a copy of FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE. Indeed, it should be required reading for students in our senior high schools. As teenagers growing up, they should have adequate knowledge about the disease so that they can lead healthy lifestyles by avoiding the dangers of sexual promiscuity.

ENDORSEMENT FROM THE AG. DIRECTOR GENERAL OF GHANA AIDS COMMISSION, Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene.

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This book reflects in most parts the existence of HIV in the Ghanaian context and we appreciate the author for putting it together. It is recommended for reading by all especially, young people to increase their understanding of HIV infection, its transmission and management in simple everyday language. I urge all to resolve not to get HIV infection by adopting preventive and positive lifestyles, provide a helping hand and avoid stigmatizing people who live with or affected by HIV. By this, we will be healthier together eliminate HIV from our country and make our communities a safer and better place to live.

ENDORSEMENT FROM THE COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR GHANA, JOINT UNITED NATIONS PROGRAMME ON HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Angela Trenton-Mbonde.

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With the theme of the 2019 World AIDS Campaign declared as “Communities Make The Difference”, the publication of the book “From Despair To Hope – the HIV and AIDS Story of Papa Kofi and His Family” is timely. This book provides valuable information on prevention, treatment, care and support as well the experiences of a range of persons affected by HIV in a life-cycle approach. It is the togetherness, social cohesion of communities and care and support among community members that bring hope, and lives can be saved in the midst of HIV infection.

I recommend that this story be told throughout communities in Ghana and beyond.

ENDORSEMENT FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR ON HIV AND AIDS, Amb. Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi.

I am so excited about this book, From Despair To Hope: The HIV and AIDS Story of Papa Kofi and His Family. The book is so well written and easy to read. Those unfortunate children born with HIV through mother-to-child transmission will know from this book that they can reach their full potential just like any child of their age. Young people generally are at risk of HIV infection and therefore should be conversant with the knowledge of Transmission, Treatment, Prevention and why they should not stigmatize people living with or affected by HIV.

This book is so easily readable that I highly recommend it to Ghana Education Service.

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ENDORSEMENT FROM THE RECTOR OF THE GHANA COLLEGE OF PHARMACISTS, Pharm Mrs Yvonne Yirenkyiwaa Esseku.

Abraham Gyesie is a great guide into the often unknown and frequently misunderstood world of persons living with HIV and AIDS. In his very well researched book From Despair to Hope, he sheds light on the varied impacts HIV and AIDS have on affected persons, their close relations and the wider society.

Abraham takes the readers through the various ways a person could be exposed to the virus, enlightening us on both the well-known and the not so easily apparent means of exposure. The processes of counselling, testing and management of the infection are clearly and perceptively discussed.

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He uses easy to read language to delve into the complex ramifications of infection with the disease and explores the diverse sources of support and information available to any seeker. He communicates sensitively as he probes the diversity of burdens persons living with HIV and AIDS are placed under as a result of societal perceptions and misconceptions of how the infection is transmitted and how to avoid contracting the disease.

Mr Gyesie is incisive as he discusses the differences between males and females and how these differences impact on the transmission of the infection. He also delves into how parents, guardians and other adults with parental responsibility can guide and support their wards and other young people in their choices and decisions to stem the spread of the disease. There are also activities to facilitate the uptake of concepts discussed in the book which provide openings for discussing the contents in both formal and informal settings. From Despair to Hope lives up to its name of providing hope in the midst of an apparently despondent situation; but, it also brings out the difficult challenges and sometimes dire actions taken as a result of societal rejection, stigmatization and discrimination.

The story is woven so as to provide a natural easy to relate with the setting. Most of us will identify with one character or the other. And most of us can utilize the information so clearly set out in the book to promote healthier choices and lead healthier lives. If you seek information on HIV and AIDS, From Despair to Hope is a must-read. It makes for good and essential reading for those affected by the disease and those who want to equip themselves to provide the necessary support.

For Images and Videos of the Book Launch

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