Ghana AIDS Commission holds dissemination workshop on HIV and AIDS

The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) says it would need a total of about 900 million dollars for the effective implementation of its New National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP) between the periods 2011 to 2015.

According to Dr Joseph Amuzu, Director of Policy and Planning, GAC, the funds would be committed toward areas including intensifying HIV prevention to reduce new infections by 50 percent and also ensure the virtual elimination of Mother-to-Child-Transmission (MTCT) of HIV.

It would also provide Treatment, Care and Support in areas such as strengthening of health systems and community systems for sustainable HIV response to optimize treatment for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who needs it, thus preventing premature deaths while protecting the infected and affected and eliminate stigma.

Dr Amuzu who was addressing participants at the Greater Accra Regional dissemination workshop on the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan for 2011-2015 in Accra on Thursday, said despite the significant progress made by the country towards achieving Universal Access to HIV services through previous HIV and AIDS Strategic Frameworks, prevalence rates are still high in pockets of Regions across the country.

He indicated that Government funding had been inadequate and advocated for increased budgetary allocation for HIV related programmes.

He called for innovative and alternative sources of funding which would rope in the private sector and increase community involvement through advocacy at the grassroots level.

Dr Amuzu said the strategy suggested that Ghana should “draw some of the revenue from the oil and gas sector into key priority areas such as HIV and AIDS”.

The dissemination workshop, which brought together various players from both the health sector and Civil Society organizations, aimed among other things at raising awareness of the NSP, provide better understanding of the Plan, update stakeholders on key and emerging HIV trends and provide strategic information for integrating HIV and AIDS into District Development programmes and Plans.

Dr Amuzu said the effective implementation of the NSP was critical to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015.

He acknowledged the immense resource contribution from external multilateral and bilateral sources, especially from the Global Fund for AIDS response programmes in Ghana, but expressed worry about the current financial resource gap that had existed over the previous five years as indicated by a recent study.

Dr Amuzu said according to the National AIDS Spending Assessment (NASA), external organisations funded most of the activities over the past five years which accounted for 71 per cent of funding in 2005, 68 per cent in 2006, 78 percent in 2007, 84 per cent in 2008 and 75 per cent in 2009.

He said this left between 20 and 30 percent of funding coming from the government and the private sector including households.

He, however, expressed worry that analysis from a research in 2010 indicated funding of resources committed by donors to HIV response was expected to reduce around $44.5 million annually between 2011 and 2013.

He said with those estimates, Ghana would face an approximately $626.5 million short fall in funding the NSP over the next five years.

Mr Kwadwo Asante, National Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), however explained that the NSP which was developed by the GAC in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders would provide the needed guidelines for intervention programmes in the country.

He expressed confidence that the strategies outlined in the plan would help to achieve the ambitious results that the NSP aimed at by 2015.

Source: GNA

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