The World Bank has commended the Northern Regional office of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and its social partners for the successful implementation of the Multi-Sectoral HIV/AIDS Programme (MSHAP) in the region.
The MSHAP is a five-year funded World Bank programme aimed at bringing social partners to collaborate in the fight against the HIV and AIDS through building their capacities and adopting other interventions that can help reduce HIV and AIDS in the country.
Through measures adopted by the Regional AIDS Commission, CSOs and NGOs in the Northern region, the region had over the years witnessed a consistent reduction of HIV and AIDS and now has a prevalent rate of 0.7 percent, the lowest in the country.
The national HIV and AIDS rate 02% with the Eastern Region recording 3.2 percent, the highest in the country.
These came to light when officials of the World Bank and the GAC visited the region on Tuesday.
The visit was to evaluate the progress of the MSHAP after five years of its implementation.
The visit is to also enable the team find out the experiences of the CSOs working on HIV and AIDS and how they have been using the funds provided by the World Bank and to draw up a new strategy for 2011-2015 after the closure of MSHAP one.
Mr Edward Bos, a lead population specialist of the World Bank, urged CSOs not to rely solely on foreign funding to carry out their activities in the fight against the HIV and AIDS.
They said should learn to use the knowledge and skills acquired during capacity building workshops organized for them to take ownership of the project when external funding ended.
He said the Bank was particularly interested in finding out how MSHAP had contributed to the reduction in stigma against people living with HIV and AIDs, their access to treatment and how willing people were ready to go for voluntary testing.
Dr. Richard Amenyah, Director of Technical Services of the GAC, reiterated governments’ determination to continue to support efforts at reducing HIV/AIDS in the country.
He said during their fact finding tour, to find out the impact of MSHAP, regions with the lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence would be supported to maintain their status while those with high percentages would be encouraged to take measures to reduce it.
Most of the CSOs and NGOs at the meeting commended MSHAP for its intervention which had helped to build their capacities and equipped them with skills in dealing with HIV and AIDS issues.
They attributed the success of the programme to among other things the cooperation of the district assemblies, the community ownership style they had adopted, the peoples willingness to implement decisions they had learnt and above all the personal interest of the Regional Minister Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba in championing the crusade against the HIV/AIDS disease.