President Akufo-Addo has announced the setting up of a national HIV/AIDS fund to fill the financial gaps in the country’s HIV/AIDS response plan.
The fund, which is expected to be functional this year, will not only ensure adequate domestic resources for the HIV and AIDS response, but will also front-load the resources needed to make the national response financially self-reliant on a sustainable basis as international donor funding dwindles.
“My government has accepted the challenge and is working assiduously to operationalise the National HIV and AIDS Fund this year,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this announcement at the official opening ceremony of the National HIV and AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON) 2018 being hosted by Ghana on the theme: ‘Ending AIDS- Rethinking Practices For Maximum Impact’.
The conference by the Ghana AIDS Commission, in collaboration with its partners, every four years brings together stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS response, including researchers, health practitioners, people living with HIV, organisations working in HIV response and the media to share ideas in support of the implementation of the current National HIV & AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP) 2016-2020.
It also forms part of GAC’s mandate to disseminate and share HIV and AIDS strategic information with the scientific community, academia, policy makers, programme managers, stakeholders and partners in the implementation of the national response.
The president mentioned that ending AIDS is possible and within the reach of the country but agreed that it will take more effort than what the country is currently doing.
He said the experience of successful African countries demonstrates that political leadership, efficiencies and community engagement have driven high returns on the investments made in their HIV response.
“Equally important factor to their success is having long-term predictable domestic funding for HIV/AIDS response,” the president added.
Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, in her opening remarks, pointed out that in order to achieve the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030, there was the need for the country to be innovative, collaborative and pragmatic in the HIV and AIDS response.
She hinted that the country’s HIV and AIDS National Strategic Plan 2016-2020 represents the country’s commitment to achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.
“These targets commit us not to just expanding access to diagnosis and treatment but also to quality of care in terms of retention in care and viral suppression, which are key to optimal health outcomes in persons living with HIV,” Dr Blay Adu-Gyamfi indicated.
She, thus, explained that the Commission, in collaboration its partners, will develop a sustainability plan to chart the country’s path towards maintenance of a sustainable domestic funding for the HIV and AIDS programme in Ghana.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu called on stakeholders to support the Ghana AIDS Commission to mobilise the needed resources through the AIDS fund.
“At least we must halt mother-to-child transmission in the shortest possible time through the delivery of sustainable anti-retroviral therapy while minimising sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV amongst our young people,” he said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri