Ghana AIDS Commission gets new board

By Lorlornyofm April 28, 2017 06:19

Ghana AIDS Commission gets new board

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated the re-constituted 19-member governing board of the Ghana AIDS Commission, with a charge on the members to use their resourcefulness to mobilise the requisite resources for the prosecution of the commission’s “ambitious” five-year national HIV and AIDS strategic plan.

The President observed that financial support from friends of Ghana in tackling the disease kept dwindling, for which reason the National HIV and AIDS Fund was expected to be established to mobilise resources, especially from the private sector, to provide reliable and adequate funding for the national response to HIV and AIDS.

“I am confident that with your resourcefulness, hard work and commitment, we can achieve the targets set for ourselves and resolve our issues here, including that of office space,” he said.MembershipThe 19-member board is chaired by the President and has as members the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu; the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama; the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Mokowaa Blay Adu, and the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare.

The others are the Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia A. Appiah; the Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh; the President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network (GHANET), Mr Victor Attah Ntumi; the President of the Network of Association of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+), Mr Emmanuel Beluzebr Suurkure; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima Kwanwoma, Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Wa Central, Alhaji Dr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo.

The rest include the representative of Christian groups, Rev. Father Lazarus Anondee; the representative of Muslim councils and the Ahmadiyya Mission, Dr Mubarak Osei-Kwasi; the representative of the National House of Chiefs, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton; the representative of the Ghana Employers Association, Mrs Victoria Hajar, and two presidential appointees, Mrs Lucy B. Ofori Ayeh and Dr Daniel Oduro-Mensah.

History of HIV and AIDS

President Akufo-Addo said the nation had come a long way from the 1980s when the first AIDS case was diagnosed.

He recalled that during the early years, scientific knowledge on the virus and the AIDS epidemic was very limited and that resulted in high levels of stigma and discrimination.

But, today, he said, being infected with the virus did not mean progressing to AIDS due to the availability and easy accessibility of anti-retroviral drugs, for which reason persons living with HIV could now live healthy, long and productive lives.

“Through our collective efforts, we have achieved a steady but gradual decline in our HIV prevalence from 3.6 per cent in 2003 to 1.6 per cent in 2015,” he said.

Greater response required

However, President Akufo-Addo said whereas the general population enjoyed a low prevalence, there were some segments of the population that had recorded very high prevalence levels.

For instance, he said, among female sex workers, prevalence was seven per cent, while for men who had sex with men, prevalence was 17.5 per cent.

“These undoubtedly point to the need for us, as a people, to extend HIV prevention and interventions to all segments of our population to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.

Attaining an HIV-free Ghana

Currently, the President said, the country was implementing the national strategic plan, 2016-2020, which was in alignment with the global United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) aspirational targets which required that by 2020, 90 per cent of all people infected with HIV would know their status, that 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV would receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and that 90 per cent of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy would be virally suppressed.

These targets are aimed at eliminating AIDS by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Three, which ensures the health and well-being of all at every stage of life.

Board’s response

Dr Osei-Kwasi, who spoke on behalf of the board, said the declining prevalent rate of the disease in the country might tempt people to think that the war against HIV and AIDS had been won.

However, he noted that contrary to that, the disease continued to pose a major challenge to national development and required enhanced effort to eliminate.

He pledged that the board would work assiduously to achieve that goal.


By Lorlornyofm April 28, 2017 06:19
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