Ghana receives $250m for HIV/AIDS

Kwaku Agyemang Manu,Minister of Health

Kwaku Agyemang Manu,Minister of Health

Ghana has received $250 million from the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The chairman, Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Ghana, of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Collins Agyarko-Nti, who disclosed this at the Civil Society Forum in Accra on Wednesday, said the amount covered 2015 to 2017 fiscal years.

The forum, organised by Ghana HIV and AIDS Network (GHANET), under the auspices of President’s Emergency Rights for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a US government initiative, to combat HIV/AIDs, was to bring Civil Society Organisations (CSO) together to dialogue and advocate for more funding from government to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The event, which was attended by representatives of SEND Ghana, Plan Parenthood Association of Ghana, Human Rights Advocacy Centre, NAP+ Ghana, Coalition of Non Governmental Organisations in Health, TV Voice Network, was to discuss alternative funding sources in view of the dwindling support from the Global Fund on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Mr. Agyarko-Nti said the Global Fund was yet to release another $194 million to Ghana for 2018 to 2020, to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He said that her outfit was in the process of developing a funding proposal to access the funds.

Mr. Agyarko-Nti explained that there had been a 22 per cent reduction from the Global Fund to Ghana from 2018-2020, saying “this emphasises the need for Ghana to explore alternative sources of funding to fight the three diseases.

He entreated the CSOs to harmonise their programmes to avoid duplication and ensure efficiency in the use of funds allocated to them.

The PEPFAR Country Coordinator, Dzifa Awunyo-Akaba, said the US government, through PEPFAR had allocated more than $23 million to support Ghana to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the next two years.

She said a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect was signed by the partners and government of Ghana in October last year, and the first tranche of $8.4 million would be released to Ghana this year.

Mrs. Awunyo-Akaba indicated that the money would be used to procure drugs and other materials for people infected with the aforementioned diseases.

She said CSOs played critical roles in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and that influenced the decision of the US government to support those sectors and indicated that PEPFAR was developing the programme of action for 2017.
The President of GHANET, Victor Attah Ntumi, appealed to government to allocate more resources to the health sector to combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He said GHANET was worried about the failure of government to release its counterpart funding for projects to fight these diseases, which sometimes, deny the country the opportunity to assess international funding earmarked for those diseases.

Mr. Ntumi, however, lauded the government for passing the HIV/AIDS Act,
which proposes AIDS Fund to raise resources to tackle HIV/AIDS, and proposed that a levy could be put on products imported into the country and part of the Talk Tax could help raise financial resources for the fund.

Kingsley Asare

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