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AIDS Commission appeals for private sector support

The Ghana AIDS Commission has appealed for the immediate financial support from the private sector to meet its funding needs to enable it to procure more test kits and Anti-retroviral drugs to manage the present national response.

Speaking at a private sector roundtable on resource mobilisation in Accra, Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), said the country has achieved positive results in the management of the HIV infection over the decade.

The country recorded a consistent decline in general adult prevalence of HIV from 3.6 per cent in 2003 to 1.3 per cent in 2013.

She said through targeted preventions strategies, the country had seen a consistent reduction in new HIV infections from baseline of 25,869 in 2009 to 7,812 new infections in 2013.

However, Dr El-Adas said more funds were required to keep the pace of work and reaching the vulnerable.

She said as a result of Ghana’s lower middle income status, donor support for the Commission to manage the national response was declining.

“It is in this connection that the Commission came out with a strategy to mobilize local resources to drive the national HIV response,” adding that, the target of the strategy was to focus on the private sector.

On challenges facing the Commission, Dr El-Adas said low condom usage and shortages of some HIV commodities, including test kits and reagents were still issues which required full attention.

However, she said, despite efforts at containing the disease, some people continue to die from AIDS, but there was a 30 per cent reduction in annual AIDS deaths from 16,320 in 2010 to 10,074 in 2013.

The Director General said through collective commitment and perseverance, Ghana continued to pursue zero tolerance for stigma and discrimination and that a stigma Index study documented the various experiences of HIV-related stigma and discrimination against PLHIV.

She said the Commission urgently required about $7 million for the immediate procurement of commodities, following the destruction of items in the Central Medical Stores fire.

There is also the funding gap of nearly $40 million for 2015, Dr El-Adas said, adding that, efforts must be made to ensure that the successes chalked were not reversed.

She said institutionalising financial support from the private sector would contribute to universal access to comprehensive services.

Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State in Charge of Private Sector, said total commitment was required to stem the tide of HIV infections through the mobilisation of funds locally to sustain the gains made in the national response.

He said the overall involvement of the private sector in the national HIV response had been quite minimal relative to its capabilities.

The representatives of the private sector pledged to support the initiative by the Commission to raise funds to carry out its programmes.

Source: GNA

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