THE Government of Ghana is to establish a National HIV/AIDS Fund aimed at mobilising resources to provide reliable and adequate funding to the national response to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who announced this at the inauguration of a 19-member governing board of the Ghana AIDS Commission at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday, said the move had become necessary in
the face of dwindling donor support to the country.
“Financial support from friends of Ghana keeps dwindling, the National HIV and AIDS fund is expected to be established to mobilise resources, especially from the private sector to provide reliable and adequate funding to the national response to the HIV and AIDS”, he noted.
The Governing Board chaired by the President himself has other members, including Minister for Health, Kweku Agyemang- Manu, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Djaba, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Alima Mahama.
The others are: the Director General, Ghana Aids Commission, Dr Mokowaa Blay Adu Gyamfi, Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr Nsiah-Asare, Executive Director, National Population Council, Dr Leticia A. Appiah, Government Statistician, Baah Wadieh, President Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Victor Attah Ntumi, President, Network of Associations of Persons Living with HIV, Emmanuel Beluzebr Suurkure, Member of Parliament , Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi , Member of Parliament, Rev. Fr. Lazarus Anondee, a representative of Christians Group, Dr Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, representative of Federation of Muslim Councils and Ahmadiyya Mission, Dr Mubarak Osei-Kwesi , representative of National House of Chiefs, Kuoru Richard Babini Kanton, representative of Ghana Employers Association, Mrs Victoria Hajar, representative of a Labour organisation, Ms Teresa Nadia Adugah , Mrs Lucy B. Ofori Ayeh and Dr Daniel Oduro-Mensah, both presidential appointees.
Addressing the new board, the President acknowledged the substantial inroads made by the country in the fight against the disease as indicated in the steady but gradual decline in the HIV prevalence from 3.6 percent in 2003, to 1.6 percent in 2015.
These achievements notwithstanding, he said, it was important to note that whiles the general population enjoys a low prevalence rate; there are sub-populations that have recorded very high prevalence levels over the years.
“For instance, among female sex workers, the prevalence is 7 percent and for men, who have sex with men, the prevalence is 17.5 percent”, he said.
This downside to the fight against the disease, he said, undoubtedly, point to the need to prioritise the extension of HIV education to all segments of the population to ensure that no one is left behind.
He noted that, currently, the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Aids Commission is implementing the National strategic plan 2016-2020, which is in alignment with the global joint United Nations programme on AIDS, which requires that by the year 2020, 90 percent of all people infected with HIV would know their HIV status.
In line with the programme, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained and anti-retroviral therapy while another 90 percent of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will be virally suppressed.
These targets he noted are aimed at eliminating AIDS by 2030 in line with the sustainable development goals which ensure health and wellbeing for all.
The President, however, expressed confidence in the Board to work tirelessly to help the Commission achieve goals set in its ambitious five years strategic plan.
“I am confident that with your resourcefulness, hard work and commitment, we can achieve the targets set for ourselves”.
The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 613, 2002 of Parliament. Its mandate is to provide support, guidance and leadership for the national response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
The Commission, among others, provides effective and efficient leadership in coordination of all programmes and activities of all stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS through advocacy, joint planning, monitoring and evaluation for the eventual elimination of the disease.