The two-week workshop, to be organised twice a year, were instituted by the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC) in collaboration with School of Public Health (SPH), University of Ghana (UG), Morehouse School of Medicine and Centre for Disease Control, both in the United States of America (USA), would be attended by 25 participants for each workshop from all the regions.
Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director-General, GAC, explained that funding for the training had been provided by the USA Government for the next five years and expected to equip participants with knowledge and skills in monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS programmes, projects and also develop individual work plans for their activities.
She said in spite of all the interventions implemented by GAC over the years to avoid the disastrous consequence experienced by other countries in the West African Sub-region where HIV and AIDS pandemic had spread faster, there were still gaps in competences for monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS professionals.
Dr. El-Adas said it was against this backdrop that GAC realised the need to collaborate with academia to enhance the capacities of such professionals including monitoring and evaluation focal persons from both governmental and non-governmental organisations.
She said the workshop would include combination of class and field of work after which certificates of completion would be awarded to participants after implementing their individual work plan.
Professor Aaron Lawson, Provost of College of Health Sciences, UG, said HIV and AIDS remained a key challenge to the overall development of Ghana and described that current situation as a mixed epidemic, where prevalence was as low as 1.9 per cent among the population, but high among sub-populations and some geographical locations.
“This is a complex situation that calls for a comprehensive monitoring of HIV and AIDS, as well as an effective evaluation of the national response”, he said.
Prof. Lawson said there was the need to acknowledge that challenges associated with monitoring and evaluation could contribute to delays in stemming the tide of HIV and AIDS epidemic in Africa and urged participants to see the workshop as a great opportunity to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation systems in the various regions and districts of Ghana.
He pledged the College’s commitment towards the unique partnership, saying the concerted effort would propel the wheel towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halting the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country and Africa at large.
Ms. Mary Scholl, Acting Deputy Chief of Missions, US Embassy, said the results of the training would not only benefit HIV and AIDS care and treatment, but also enhance policy formulation nation-wide, saying additional funding for health programmes would depend on timely information on results on monitoring and evaluation of the various programmes in place.
However, she said the US Government had committed about 25 billion dollars since 2003 for HIV and AIDS activities and programmes in Ghana.