Govt working to set up National HIV/AIDS Fund – Pres

President Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo

Government is working assiduously to establish a National HIV and AIDS Fund, to ensure that the national response is financially self-reliant.

“This is the only way we can sustain and advance our national response amid dwindling donor support,” President Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf in Sunyani during the inauguration of the nine-member Brong Ahafo Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission.

President Akufo-Addo said the National Governing Board of the AIDS Commission had been tasked to ensure that by 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV would know their status.

In addition, “90 per cent of all people diagnosed to have HIV would receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy while 90 per cent of people receiving anti-retroviral therapy would have viral suppression,” he said.

The President stated that achieving these targets was necessary to position the nation favourably towards ending AIDS by 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

He said: “As a nation, we pride ourselves for having achieved a generally low prevalence which is at 1.67 in 2017 for the general population. However, new infections are on the increase and therefore, there is no room for complacency; we must work hard to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Evans Opoku-Boubie, called for closer collaboration between all stakeholders in meeting the targets set for the region and the nation as a whole.

Mr Opoku-Boubie, who is also the chairman of the Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said, “we can only achieve these when we work in partnerships; we need to do effective planning, bringing onboard all relevant stakeholders ideas and harmonise these dreams for effective implementation.”

He was not happy that the region recorded the highest HIV prevalence of 2.7 per cent in 2016 as against 1.7 per cent in 2015.

“This situation compelled us to implement pragmatic interventions with strong stakeholder collaboration to reverse the situation and I am happy to report that the current HIV prevalence for 2017 is 2.0 per cent”, the Deputy Minister stated.

The Brong Ahafo Regional AIDS Committee is made up of the Deputy Regional Minister with Dr Kofi Issah, the Regional Director of Health Services, as well as Rev. Jacob Asare and Raphael Ahenu, Chief Executive of Global Media Foundation, as members.

Other members of the committee are Very Rev. Robert B. Num of the Christian Council of Ghana, Abdullah Suallah Quandah, Office of the Chief Imam, Barima Twereku Ampem III (Ntotrosohene), representing B.A Regional House of Chiefs, Anthony Nimako of the Ghana Education Service and Ahmed Ibrahim Bambilla, Technical Co-ordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Bambilla, on behalf of the committee, said members would not relax until they make headway in achieving the targets set for themselves.

“A lot of people think that HIV is no more a public health threat, but we are not there yet as a country. That is why we have ambitious target – the three 90s. So we have to make sure HIV, by the year 2020, is no more a public health threat,” he said.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI

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