A day’s forum has been organised by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) to mark this year’s World AIDS Day in Accra, as part of series of activities earmarked for the commemoration of the event.
This year’s occasion is being celebrated on the global theme: “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility with the localised one as; Stay Safe, Let’s End AIDS by 2030.”
Speaking at the forum, the Presidential Advisor on HIV and AIDS, Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyemfi, said Ghana had done well in the management of the disease, since it was first identified in the country in the mid 1980s, and there was the need to continue to ensure that the war against the disease was won.
She said the end of this year, marked the end of the implementation of current National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV and AIDS, and another plan, which would commence next year, would provide a clear roadmap to end AIDS as a public health threat.
Dr Adu-Gyemfi said it was important that all partners and stakeholders worked with the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) to achieve the goals and objectives of the new NSP.
“I am persuaded that this NSP holds the promise for Ghana to end AIDS before the end of this decade if we all work together as a people with common destiny.”
Dr Adu-Gyemfi noted that in keeping with best international practices, community-based HIV prevention and care programmes were being scaled up with strong linkages with health facilities across the country for speedy initiation of newly diagnosed persons on antiretroviral treatment.
She explained that the complimentary and synergetic efforts of community implementers and clinicians had contributed significantly to retention of clients on treatment.
“The recent piloting of self-testing, preexposure prophylaxis and mentor mothers programme are intended to generate information to guide our strategy to bring innovative interventions, in order to accelerate progress towards epidemic control,” Dr Adu-Gyemfi stressed.
She said that the Face to Shine initiative spearheaded by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the mentor mothers programme, created a new momentum for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The Director-General of GAC, Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, said Ghana had made tremendous progress in the HIV response, particularly in scaling up testing and treatment services, increasing the number of antiretroviral treatment centres and increasing coverage of testing and treatment of pregnant mothers and their exposed babies.
In addition, he said significant progress had been made in the area of data system strengthening, which had enhanced data capture and data use across the country.
Mr Atuahene said these positive developments placed Ghana in a stronger position to perform better and achieve great results in the next phase of HIV response, which would be guided by the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2021-2025.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL