Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP), on Monday said currently, Ghana had slowly but steadily made good progress in its response to HIV and AIDS.
He said that the 2018 HIV Estimates Report described the country’s current situation as “National Prevalence is 1.69 per cent with Regional HIV prevalence ranging from 2.66 per cent in Ahafo as the region with the highest prevalence to 0.39 per cent in North East Region, the lowest”.
Dr Addo added that at the district level, HIV prevalence ranged from 5.56 per cent in the Lower Manya Krobo as district with the highest to 0.07 per cent in Karaga and Tolon as districts with lowest prevalence.
Touching on HIV among pregnant women in Ghana, he noted that overall, a linear trend analysis of Ante natal clinic (ANC) HIV prevalence showed a decline from 2.9 per cent in 2009 to 1.6 per cent in 2014.
Dr Ayisi Addo stated during an interview with the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office as he was tabled to appear on “GNA-Tema End of Month Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day,” which is a platform rolled-out for state and non-state actors to address national issues.
The event also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development in general and growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.
The maiden programme on March 24, was attended by the TDC Development Company Limited (TDC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), and Information Service Department (ISD).
Dr Ayisi Addo together with Dr Kingsley Antwi Bosiako, Corporate and Public Affairs Manager of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) are expected on the next event slated for April 28 to address national issues in relation with their institution, while Nana Oye Bampo Addo, former Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection would chair the engagement.
Dr Ayisi Addo said NACP was established in 1987, to lead the national response after the first case of HIV was detected in Ghana in 1986.
The NACP Programmes Manager noted that there were prevailing institutional and programmatic challenges to the country’s ability to further reduce the incidence, prevalence and risk of HIV and AIDS among the Ghanaian population.
These he said included “limited availability and accessibility to evidence-based, culturally appropriate information to support the population adopt lifestyles that reduce their risk of getting infected with HIV; limited availability of and accessibility to comprehensive preventive, treatment, care and support services”.
He stressed that HIV was still a big threat, adding that it was evidenced by a number of factors including the plateauing of new infections with a slight increase amongst young adults.
Dr Ayisi Addo observed that for epidemic control, Ghana must reduce its overall new infections to zero, adding that, the estimated number of new annual Infections in 2018, was 19,931.
Ghana, he said had been consistent with the designing and implementation of national policy responses since 1987; “These responses have been towards reducing the incidence and prevalence of HIV, as well as, mitigating its impact on the population”.
The policy, he said provided the overarching direction of Ghana, as it continued on its journey to achieve the 90-90-90 treatment targets and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, specifically target 3.3, which called for an end to the epidemic of AIDS by 2030.
According to him, in addition to ending the AIDS epidemic, Ghana, through this policy, intended to ensure that the impact of HIV and AIDS on the socio-economic life of people affected and living with HIV in Ghana ceases to be of public health and socio-economic concern.
“The policy sets out the direction in which implementing stakeholders (individuals, organizations and sectors) are to focus their interventions. The policy recognizes that stakeholders have unique strengths and capabilities”.