Public health experts call for more gov’t funding to tackle HIV prevalence
Public health experts are pushing for more government funding in the management of HIV/AIDS following a new report prevalence rate increased by 80 percent last year.
According to the Ghana Aids Commission, the infection rate of the deadly disease has been on a steady decline in the last few years until the sharp rise in 2017.
The Ghana Public Health Association says the only way to reverse the trend is for government to intervene.
The latest Ghana AIDS Commission report also indicates that the Volta Region and Brong Ahafo Region topped the chart of HIV/AIDS prevalence.
The findings were revealed at the Commission’s two-day annual strategic planning meeting.
Ghana has been relying heavily on donor support for the implementation of programmes to control the disease, but a shortfall in donor support is raising serious questions about the sustainability critical programmes.
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Commission, Ambassador Dr Amokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi has made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to voluntarily test for the virus.
She asked persons living with the virus to stick to the approved anti-retroviral drugs because there was no herbal cure for the disease yet.
“We are not condemning them (herbalist), we are just saying that there is no herbal cure as yet for HIV. If you want to take them it’s up to you. But then take your anti-retroviral medication,” she said.
The Ghana National AIDS Spending Assessment (NASA) has also urged the government to scale up its funding of HIV/AIDS prevention programmes to sustain the fight against the spread of the infection.
The call was contained in NASA report that critically examined the level and flow of resources into the HIV/AIDS campaign in the year 2014.
It put the total expenditure on the diseases related activities for that year at $68,843,316 and out of this figure, 66 percent was contributed by multilateral organizations.
The report indicated that funds from the government accounted for just about 7 percent, with the remaining 27 coming from the private sector.
“This is consistent with the trend in the nation and other sub-Saharan African countries which relies heavily on donor funding to finance their HIV and AIDS-related activities”, it added.
It underlined the need for the government to strengthen its efforts at mobilizing and channelling more funds into the campaign against the disease.
The report added that it was in the nation’s own interest to ensure quality services and availability of antiretroviral drugs for infected persons.
Ghana, it said, could not fail its commitment to tackling the phenomenon and that it needed to up its game amid the global recession and limited sources of funding for HIV/AIDS-related programmes.