SEND Ghana is pleading with the Government of Ghana to increase financial support to ensure full implementation of the 90-90-90 targets to combat HIV and AIDS by increasing the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) allocated for the HIV programming from 0.5 to a minimum of 2 percent per annum.
SEND GHANA in partnership with USAID, Penplusbyte and Ghana News Agency has launched the People For Health project (P4H). People For Health is a five-year USAID funded project, seeking to reduce inequities in the delivery of health services through the promotion of good governance practices in health, planning, monitoring and evaluation systems at the district, regional and national levels.
The project aims to achieve this objective by strengthening the technical and leadership capacity of Civil Society Organizations to advocate for citizens to demand and participate in health service delivery.
Citizens who will benefit from the health budgetary allocations in target areas for each programme include, Persons With Disability, Persons Living with HIV, Breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, children under five, young men and women below 19 years of age.
Presenting the report, Mr Mukaila Adamu, Civil Society Advisor for People For Health project said HIV rate is likely to increase because; the amount of money devoted to AIDS prevention is too low.
The report he said, showed that, even though over 250,000 persons are living with HIV in Ghana, accounting for over 9.000 deaths every year, HIV programming is presently not a top priority of the government.
About 12,000 poor Ghanaians are urging government to increase the budgetary allocation to the seven existing health programmes of the Ministry of Health.
The lack of funds prevents the Ghana AIDS Commission from properly implementing AIDS related programs he added.
Ghana was among the original signatories in 2001 to the Abuja Declaration, committing a minimum of 15 percent of its national budget to the health sector.
He noted that, consequently, the key health challenges facing deprived communities, vulnerable and stigmatized groups remain unmet, and in some cases, are worsening. Illness and deaths due to preventable causes such as malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition, that prompted African governments to endorse the Abuja Declaration, remain as real as they were a decade ago.
The prevalence rate of HIV in pregnant women exceeds the national average according to the Sentinel Report for 2016. Currently, 2.4% of Ghana’s population are said to be infected with the HIV virus which is raising fears that, the country is gradually losing the fight against the disease.
Addressing HIV is therefore a major health challenge, which is why the 15 districts where P4H is operational are committed to the 90-90-90 targets but are constrained by limited budgetary support he added.
The CSO Advisor further added that, by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status and diagnosed HIV infected people will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
A dashboard which was developed to function as an avenue of reporting cases of stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS in the health sector was also launched.
The platform developed for the project would provide and share information on maternal and child health, family planning, reproductive health, malaria, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and HIV/AIDS health service delivery at the district, regional and national levels.