Health News of 2014-06-20

Ghana AIDS Commission in UWR in distress

Activities of Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in Upper West Region are under threat owing to delay in the release of funds from the district Assemblies.

Mr Gordon Domayele, Regional HIV and AIDS Focal Person who made this known to Ghana News Agency (GNA), in an interview in Wa, said: “The commission is close to the end of its five- year plan and a lot still needs to be done at the regional level yet delay in the release of funds have caused the slow pace of the commission to effectively engage in AIDS campaign.

“This situation has posed a major challenge to the commission, rendering it ineffective in organising HIV and AIDS activities to raise a sustained awareness and educational campaigns in the communities.”

He said the commission is looking out for ways to get the assemblies to commit their 0.5 per cent share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to the commission to enable it to operate more effectively. He explained that the delay could be a thing of the past if the Common Fund Secretariat would deduct at source the 0. 5 per cent share due the commission before releasing the funds to the assemblies’ accounts.

Mr Domayele suggest to the District Development Facility Secretariat to consider the payment of the 0.5 per cent into the Commission’s account as a condition for qualification of the Functional Organisation Assessment. He appealed to district chief executives to prioritise HIV and AIDS as a major key function in the assemblies’ development agenda.

The Regional Focal Person hinted that despite the challenges with funds, the commission had created a six member group, consisting of people living with HIV and AIDS who would be serving as ambassadors in the various districts in the region. This, he said would help facilitate the campaign against AIDS in the region.

Mr Michael Bayel, Wa Municipal Assembly HIV and AIDS Focal Person who also spoke to the GNA, said the last activities the commission embarked on at the Municipal level was last year leading to two HIV and AIDS orphans, both girls in the Sissala East and the Daffiama-Buse-Issa Districts being supported financially.

Mr Sayibu Yarifa Inusah, Municipal Coordinating Director said the commission had not been given their due of the 0.5 per cent of the Common Fund because the assembly had not received any funds for three quarters.

“It is not that the assembly does not want to support the AIDS Commission’s activities but for the past three quarters we have not received anything from the common fund,” he said.

The Municipal Assembly has not received funds from the Common fund as at the fourth quarter of 2013 and first and second quarters of 2014, he added. The HIV prevalence rate for 2012 in the region according to the GAC, stood at 1.2 per cent compared to 0.9 per cent and 2.1 percent in Northern and Upper East Regions.