The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) yesterday launched a new electronic database to capture accurate information and advance continuum of care for persons diagnosed of HIV/AIDS in the country.
The “Ghana Key Population Unique Identification System (GKPUIS)” is primarily targeted at vulnerable groups such as sex workers, homosexuals among other persons whose lifestyles exposed them to the infection to promote effective management and reduce transmissions or deaths associated with the disease.
Developed with assistance from West Blue Consulting Limited, an IT Consulting Firm, the GKPUIS is expected to be employed by health facilities, civil society groups, peer educators among other key implementing agencies to capture, store and analyse data on HIV/AIDS services offered to infected persons.
Launching the platform on the theme; “Leaving no one behind by reaching the unreached, Acting Director General of the GAC, Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene observed a high prevalence of HIV among marginalised and “hard to reach” groups in the country.
To him, prioritising such key populations (KPs) in the national HIV/AIDS response strategy was critical to bridge gaps in quality service provision while reducing AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
“If we choose to exclude such KPs, they and the people within their sexual networks will spread the virus in the general population and it is in the spirit of leaving no one behind that GKPUIS was developed to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of HIV/AIDS programmes designed for such key groups.”
The new system, the Acting DG explained, would establish a basis for a concise estimation of persons identified as well as determine hot spots and communities in which such persons thrived to monitor and track services they receive as they moved from one locality to another.
“The platform additionally creates an enabling environment for an increased data-use culture among key population organisations that will not only collect the data but analyse them to track monthly targets and trends and find ways to improve management and service quality to sustain effective response at the community level,” he stated.
Suggesting that the technology would be implemented alongside the e-tracker module introduced by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to facilitate tracking of clinical services received by its clients, Mr Atuahene encouraged implementing partners to maintain a continuous collaboration with GAC to sustain the GKPUIS.
Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban hoped the platform would reduce double counting and inflation of numbers of Persons Living with HIV/ AIDS in the country while influencing policy formulation in that direction.
“It is also our expectation that the data from the GKPUIS will be integrated with data from the GHS through the e-tracker to ensure continuum of care for all reactive KPs until they attain viral suppression,” he said.
Mr Mark Addo, Chief Executive Office of West Blue Consulting observed that Ghana was being a frontrunner in using technology to address pressing issues, a trait that set the pace for other countries on the sub-region to emulate.
He expressed the Company’s delight in contributing to the success of the project noting that the GKPUIS presented “an excellent case study of using innovative technologies not only to address personalised healthcare delivery but to assist with a secured and confidential management of personal health records for effective programme planning, monitoring and evaluation by the GAC.”
President of the Network of Associations of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+) Emmanuel Beluzebr Suurkure on his part, lauded the initiative which he believed would break the ice on issues of HIV/AIDS in the country to achieve the 90-90-90 target set by the UNAIDS.
By Abigail Annoh