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HIV prevalence high among females in Northern Region

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Dr Patrick Bampoh, Northern Regional Coordinator of HIV and AIDS, has said the HIV prevalence is high among females in the region.

He said this year, the prevalence rate for females in the region is 26.7 per cent whilst that of males is 5.9 per cent.

Dr Bampoh said this during a forum on the social accountability monitoring report which was organised by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in collaboration with Social Accountability Monitoring Committee (SAMC) in Tamale.

It was held to identify challenges and bottlenecks hindering the supply and distribution of Tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) commodities in the region.

He said HIV prevalence among antenatal clients for this year is 2.4 per cent and this is an increase from last year’s prevalence rate of 1.8 per cent and the 2014 prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent adding that for “ two conservative years, Ghana has had an increase in the median HIV prevalence rate”.

Dr Bampoh said “this year’s prevalence rate is the lowest of three peaks above two per cent since the inception of this survey (3.6 per cent in 1992 and 2003, 3.2 per cent in 2009 and 2.4 per cent in 2017)”.

Mr Francis Kpadonou, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of TB at Ghana Health Service, said some of the challenges of presumptive TB should be based on much more sensitive symptoms adding that cough lasting any duration, together with one of the clinical signs (Fever, weight loss, night sweat) must not be ignored.

He said 30 per cent of patients always visited pharmacies before seeking care in health facilities and must be discouraged.

Mr Kpadonou said health personnel should not wait for patients to come to the health facility but also need to do intensified case finding in targeted groups to address some of these challenges.

“All health care providers must have ‘high index of suspicion’ for TB and every cough presented to health facilities must be investigated” he said.

Mr Kpadonou said there should be a Pro-active case by finding activities in risk groups and vulnerable populations should be practised by creating awareness on TB in the community.

Mr Nuhu Musah, Technical Coordinator at Technical Support Unit of GAC in the Northern Region, said visits to some hospitals revealed that they did not have test kits for HIV nor did they have enough drugs.

Source: GNA

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