AIDS on decline in Ghana; 2030 eradication target possible - Dr Ayisi
The Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo has heaped praises on the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme's significant contribution to the reduction and control of HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana.
Dr Ayisi Addo noted that the current milestone attained by the AIDS Commission has been impacted by the contributions of PEPFAR.
He was optimistic that despite Ghana's quest to go beyond aid, such partnerships are critical to sustaining the gains made.
The Programme Manager attested that aside the financial assistance benefitted from PEPFAR, the programme has built the capacity of stakeholders in data collection and analysis and ensured not only the storage of data but the ability to break it down into useful information.
"Our epidemic is on the decline, STI prevalence - Syphilis just marginally increased but we have noticed some swings in the various regions and we have noticed that there are some areas we need to focus on. And I am happy to indicate that clearly one of the values that PEPFAR is bringing onboard through Ambassador Birx is the need for us to look at data and to look at data disaggregated and once you have looked at it you can be able to tell for instance that the children or the adolescents are being left behind and therefore you need to institute measures to ensure that nobody is left behind" he stated.
He continued by reaffirming the commitment of all stakeholders in Ghana to the prevention and ending of the AIDS epidemic by the agreed dates.
Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo emphasised this when he remarked, "I wish to reaffirm their commitment of the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health to the course to ensure that we all end AIDS by 2030 by making sure that we precede it with all the important actions by 2020"
The National AIDS Control Programme Manager explained why though there is a consistent decline in the numbers, the prevalence rate increased in 2017.
He said the increment was attributable to the fact that more AIDS victims are living longer because of the intervention of PEPFAR and other measures put in to ensure treatment is effective.
"Prevalence is looking at the existing plus new. Because of treatment more people living with HIV are still living. They will live longer. What will change the rate is how fast new clients are added. If by the grace of God people are adhering to medication, it means they will live long and perhaps die from other non-communicable diseases. So, the population will increase" he explained.
PEPFAR is marking 15years of its establishment globally and 10years of its existence in Ghana with a year-long celebration on the theme "15 years of Saving Lives through American Generosity and Partnerships".
By 2017, PEPFAR had supported HIV testing services for more than 85.5 million people, including more than 11.2 million pregnant women.
Currently, US government through PEPFAR is the largest donor to Ghana's HIV/ AIDS response programme.
In Ghana, PEPFAR has committed $23.7 million for live-saving commodities.