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Health News Wed, 14 Aug 2019

Increase domestic resources to improve health - Global Fund charges government

A team of health advocates from Geneva, Tanzania and Zambia together with some Civil Society Organizations and NGOs in the country are calling on government to exhibit its global solidarity prowess by supporting the Global Fund replenishment with at least one million US dollars dedicated towards the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the world.

The advocates for the replenishment of the Global Fund are equally appealing to government to help increase its domestic resources so as to close up the funding gaps in order to improve healthcare delivery in the country.

The team led by Linda Mafu, Head of Political & Civil Advocacy Department at the Global Fund, Geneva, Olive C. Mumba, the Executive Director of Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service (EANNASO), Tanzania, Carol Nawina Kachenga and the Executive Director of Citam Plus, Zambia among others were in the country last week to engage with government officials, parliamentarians, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) including some local and international NGOs in health on the need for Ghana to contribute its quota to the global fund replenishment as well increase domestic resources to avert funding gaps which is one of Ghana's bane.

Speaking at a media briefing to highlight the key issues and the need for the fund replenishment, Head of Political & Civil Advocacy Department from the Global Fund Management headquarters, Geneva, Mad. Linda Mafu observed that the fund is seeking to mobilize forty (40) billion US dollars this year to enable it save over 60 million lives in the areas of HIV, tuberculosis, Malaria and the Sustainable Systems of Health.

According to her, the fund is, therefore, calling on all players, the federal state, the donor and implementing countries as well as the private sector “to combine resources so that we are able to defeat HIV, TB and Malaria perfectly”.

Explaining the key targets of this year’s Global Fund replenishment, she said “we are seeking among others to avert new HIV infections, invest in prevention methodology that are enjoyed by young women to avert new infections on daily basis and invest in programs that decrease young women vulnerability”. “We are also seeking to invest in programs that are ensuring that young women are able to access health facilities within a walking distance”.

“We also want to reduce the number of people that are dying, so in October, on the 10th, we are hoping that we are able to mobilize 40 billion US dollars from donors”, she stressed.

On her part, the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), Mrs. Cecilia Lodonu-Senoo stressed the need for government to prioritize the health needs of people by first increasing the domestic resources to ensure no funding gap is left that would continue to hamper health service delivery in the country.

While bemoaning the health challenges the country is faced with which had resulted to inadequate provision of health services and drugs for the use of tuberculosis, she revealed Ghana has a funding gap of 56% between 2012-2014 as well as 52% gap between 2016-2017 alone which is a cause for concern that and added, “we can’t rely on donors all the time to take care of our health”.

Unfortunately, in Ghana, what the government put into filling those gaps is woefully inadequate and so you’ve realized that we’re a leaving a lot of gaps for gaps”, she laments.

Mrs. Cecilia Lodonu-Senoo who doubles as a member of GFAN Africa, an advocacy network for Global Fund made up of CSOs in Africa therefore suggesting a solution to the problem appealed to government to help increase the domestic resources of the country to at least 20 million dollars to cater for the health needs of the people while the Global Fund and other donors complement their efforts.

She also added her voice strongly to the call for Ghana to demonstrate its global solidarity just like some African countries did to support the Global Fund replenishment agenda with at least one (1) million dollars to help the fund execute its objectives.

“If you put in only one million, then the global fund brings you 200 million, it’s a lot, so why don’t you just put a little and then you get what you’re getting, you don’t put in just what you’re receiving”, she posited.

Citing examples of some Africa countries who have demonstrated similar commitments towards the replenishment of the Global Fund, Mrs Lodonu-Senoo said, At least we should show global solidarity. For example, I know South Africa is putting in 10 million dollars, Kenya is putting 10 million dollars, Zimbabwe is putting in 5 million dollars and even Togo (our neighbour) pledged 1 million dollars”, she concluded that “Ghana do not even give 1 Ghana cedis” and asked, “is this not an embarrassment?”.

The Executive Director of Citam Plus, Zambia, Carol Nawina Kachenga, adding her voice to calls underscored the importance of community engagement in decision making processes and hence urges policy makers, governments and civil society organizations to ensure they always seek information and involve members of the community in all their decision-making processes to achieve good results.

For her part, Genevive Dorbayi, Treasurer at the Ghana National TB voice Network lamented the ordeals of patients in the country and appealed for media support to help uncover so many ills that are being carried out by the health authorities which put the lives of people living with tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria at risk of getting support as far as funding gaps are concerned.

She believes the challenges that bedeviled the health sector can be addressed holistically if the authorities are able to show concern by ensuring adequate increment of domestic resources to avert funding gaps towards improvement of health services in the country.

Madam Olive C. Mumba, the Executive Director of Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service (EANNASO), Tanzania also adding her voice, calls for effective collaboration between all Civil Society Organizations and the government to address the burgeoning health challenges the country is faced with.

The Global Fund has been a strategic partner in health sector contributing to significant achievements towards slowing down the spread of the three major killers of people namely HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Ghana and elsewhere.

Ghana has a special history with the Global Fund, being the first country to sign for it in 2002. Since then, the country has made great progress against HIV, TB and malaria. The country has maintained a low adult HIV prevalence, which declined from 1.8 percent in 2012 to 1.6 percent in 2015. Over the past 10 years, Ghana has achieved 50 percent and 65 percent reductions in malaria in-patient cases and deaths.

Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor
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