The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has inaugurated the 19-member Governing Board of the Ghana AIDS Commission, at a brief ceremony at the Presidency, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
The Governing Board, which is chaired by President Akufo-Addo himself, as stipulated under the Ghana AIDS Commission Act, 2016 (Act 938), is to provide support, guidance and leadership to the AIDS Commission – the body tasked to ensure the elimination of HIV and AIDS in Ghana.
Delivering a brief address to the gathering, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the world has come a long way from the 1980s when the first case of AIDS was diagnosed.
“Based on the advances on the frontiers of science and immense efforts at addressing the epidemic, it is now common knowledge that being HIV positive is not a death sentence. Being infected with a virus does not mean progressing to AIDS. This is due to availability and easy access accessibility to antiretroviral drugs. Now people living with HIV can leave health, long and productive lives,” he said.
He continued, “Through our collective efforts, we have achieved a steady decline in prevalence from 3.6% in 2003 to 1.6% in 2015. However, it is important to indicate that, whereas the general population enjoys a low prevalence, there are some populations that have enjoyed high prevalence levels.
“For example, among female sex workers, the prevalence is 7%, and for men who have sex with men, the prevalence is 17.5%. These, undoubtedly, point to the need for us as a people to extend HIV preventions to all segments of our population to ensure that no one is left behind.”
Currently, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Commission is implementing the National Strategic Plan, 2016-2020, which is in alignment with the global, joint United Nations programme on AIDS, UNAIDS.
The targets of the National Strategic Plan, according to the President, “require that by the year 2020, 90% of all people infected with HIV will know their HIV status. 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. 90% of people receiving antiretroviral therapy will be virally suppressed.”
These targets, the President noted, “are aimed at eliminating aids by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals #3, which ensures health and wellbeing for all at every stage of life”, adding that Ghana has also adopted the World Health Organisation’s “Treat All policy”.
With financial support from “friends of Ghana” to the AIDS Commission dwindling, the President revealed that the “National HIV/AIDS Fund is expected to be mobilized, especially from the private sector, to provide reliable and adequate funding to the national response to HIV and AIDS.”
President Akufo-Addo also charged the board to use their “resourcefulness, hard work and commitment” to achieve the targets set for themselves, “including that of office space.”