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The termination of Joyce Dzidzor Mensah’s appointment as a Heart to Heart (H2H) ambassador in 2012 had absolutely nothing to do with former First Lady Lordina Dramani Mahama or the President at the time, according to a former Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas.
Dr. El-Adas says the former First Lady was not a Heart to Heart ambassador, rather, she chose to support the work of the ambassadors.
“By virtue of her position as First Lady, she was appointed Ghana’s premier ambassador on the UNAIDS ‘Global Plan for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive. She was appointed to this position by the UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) in April 2013," she said.
For one to be appointed a H2H Ambassador, you must be HIV positive, be a member of the Network of Association of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+ Ghana), a known community advocate for PLHIV, and you have to be appointed by the Ghana AIDS Commission.
The former First Lady’s appointment was not by the GAC, but an international appointment, just like the 2017 appointment of First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo as a UNAIDS Ambassador for HIV Advocacy in Ghana to achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.
“Clearly, no H2H ambassador needs to be kicked out for a first lady to be appointed by UNAIDS as HIV ambassador. Indeed, in June 2013, Her Excellency Lordina Mahama was elected Vice President of OAFLA for West Africa and in June 2015, she was elected President of OAFLA (Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS).”
According to Dr. El Adas, as UNAIDS Ambassador, OAFLA Vice President and OAFLA President, financial support for Madam Lordina Mahama’s advocacy and HIV campaign went directly to the Ghana AIDS Commission.
Available information confirms that the GAC terminated Joyce Mensah’s contract in November 2012 as a result of a series of breaches. She was replaced by Mrs. Charity Danso Beluo, another HIV positive advocate and former Vice President of NAP+ Ghana, as a Heart to Heart Ambassador.
After the termination of her appointment, Joyce's stipends were stopped, but she was allowed to stay in her ‘safe house’, a GAC rented accommodation until the lease expired in September 2013. She is not owed any money or benefits by GAC.
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