The French Ambassador to Ghana, Anne Sophie AVE last week visited the Maamobi General Hospital, in Accra, as part of activities of the sixth Global Fund Replenishment Conference, held in Lyon, France.
The Global Fund provides grants that enable countries to obtain drugs and treated mosquito nets that are distributed to health facilities including the Maamobi General Hospital.
Ghana, the first recipient of the Global Fund grant, has received cumulative disbursements amounting to US$817 million since 2002, including US$110 million from France, the second largest contributor to the Fund.
A statement copied the Ghanaian Times by the French Embassy in Accra said that Global Fund resources alone could not be sufficient and that the government needs to strengthen its efforts through increased health budgets to eradicate the prevalence of malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
The statement said Mrs Ave interacted with pregnant women and young mothers at the maternity ward where they are receiving treatment as beneficiaries of the Global Fund-funded treatment.
According to the statement, more than $40 billion had been allocated to 140 countries since the establishment of the Global Fund in 2002, to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis which are considered the leading cause of death in developing countries.
The statement further said the French Ambassador also interacted with representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to discuss the modalities for strategic management and monitoring of grants.
It said by 2018, programmes supported by the Global Fund to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria had saved 32 million lives worldwide in addition to building a resilient and sustainable health systems; promotion and protection of human rights, ensuring gender equality and the mobilisation of resources.
The statement observed for instance that malaria remains a leading cause of death in Ghana, but since 2006 significant progress had been made in reducing prevalence and mortality.
More than that, the statement said that treatment for tuberculosis, also a contagious disease had improved tremendously, although screening was still low, as is the case for HIV.
Furthermore, it said HIV/AIDS remains a significant cause of death with prevalence high among key populations (sex workers and men who have sex with men).
The statement said new HIV infections stood at 19,100 cases in 2017, with the number of people living with HIV estimated at 320,000 in 2018.
At the Maamobi General Hospital, the statement said the French envoy was welcomed by the Director, Dr Dorcas Anfu Okine and staff of the facility.
Mrs Ave also interacted with Ms Cecilia Senoo, the Chairman of Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) and officials of the National Disease Control Programmes (NACP), the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP), and the National Disease Control Programme (NTP).
She later held discussions with Mrs Comfort Asamoah-Adu, Executive Director of the WAPCAS (West African Programme to Combat AIDS and STIs), the main recipient of the Global Fund.
On October 10, 2019, France hosted the Sixth Global Fund Replenishment Conference in Lyon, meeting the financial needs for the year 2020-2022 with a financial target of $14 billion to help save $16 million lives and avoid 234 million new infections in 2030.
So far, all the sixty countries present at this year’s conference had contributed about $14.02 billion in pledges, including $1.4 billion from France, which remains the second largest contributor to the Global Fund since its creation in 2002, after the United States.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA