$132 needed to fight HIV annually in Ghana – Dr Ahuahene
About $132 million is required to provide a full range of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) services annually in Ghana, says the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene.
According to him, out of the $132 million, only $45.2 million is obtained from donors such as the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund, creating a support deficit of about $86.8 million.
He disclosed this at a workshop to review and prioritise the focal country collaboration (FCC) project which was organised by SEND Ghana in Accra yesterday.
“You may think the $45.2 million donor support is enough but the cost of the HIV drugs, test kits, reagents and other supplies are very expensive because they are produced outside the country and we have to import them,” he explained.
He appealed to all stakeholders to support the GAC in addressing the funding gap in order not to stand the risk of “reversing the gains that we have spent many years and resources in making.”
Dr Atuahene revealed that the FCC Plan was a framework of collaboration among PEPFAR/USAID, Global fund, UNAIDS, Government of Ghana and civil society organisations to curb stigma and reduce discrimination in the country.
He stated that, HIV was still a major public health challenge in Ghana, so there was the need to uphold the Public Health and Human Rights approach to the provision of HIV-related services with a primary focus towards epidemic control and improving quality of life in the country.
He added that the GAC would employ strategies such as the total facility approach to address stigma and discrimination in health facilities.
“Together let us work to make Ghana a country where we have zero new infections, zero AIDS deaths and zero stigma and discrimination,” he noted.
The Chief Executive Officer for SEND Ghana, Mr Siapha Kamara, revealed that the FCC was formulated with the aim of reducing stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV and Tuberculosis patients by increasing coordination, collaboration, and planning with communities.
He hinted that the solutions contained in the FCC Plan were multi-disciplinary and would be implemented at national, regional, district, community and facility levels.
“The FCC Plan is a living document that needs to periodically prioritise activities or implementation in consultation with national stakeholders,” he added.
BY JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE & CECILIA LAGBA