Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have appealed to the Government to contribute at least $ 2 million to the Global Fund 7th Replenishment to protect progress towards ending Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria in the country.
Mrs Cecilia Senoo, the Executive Director Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), said this was necessary to help increase domestic resources to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 while ending the three diseases which were still claiming and ravaging lives.
The CSOs made the appeal at a media engagement organised by HFFG in Accra to press on the need for the Government to make a commitment to the 7th Global Fund Replenishment.
The Global Fund established in 2000 sought to fight the deadliest pandemics such HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Over the 20 years of its establishment, the Global Fund partnership has invested US $53 billion, saving 44 million lives, and reducing the yearly death toll from the three diseases by 40 per cent in the countries in which the Global Fund invests.
Ghana is the first recipient of the Global Fund grant and as of September 2022, the Global Fund had invested US$ 1,285 billion to support the national HIV, TB and malaria programmes.
The Fund has also help strengthened Ghana’s health systems with an additional US$ 87 million approved under the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) in 2020-2022 and has recently been invested to support a robust national COVID-19 response and thereby further strengthen Ghana’s core health system and improve its pandemic preparedness.
Every year, in a show of global solidarity and leadership, the Global Fund, through the ‘Global Fund Replenishment’ programme, calls on partners, donors, and countries to support it to raise funds to help save more lives and strengthen health systems across the world.
This year, as part of its 7th Replenishment drive, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is asking donors to donate at least $18 billion to help it save 20 million more lives and prepare countries’ health systems for the next pandemic.
Mrs Senoo said it was against this background that Ghana needed to pledge its commitment as the country stood to benefit more from the Global Fund in the end.
She said the call by the Global Fund had seen many countries and donors making pledges to the Global Fund’s replenishment.
However, like previous occasions, the Government of Ghana is yet to make any pledge to the fund, she stated.
“Aside from Ghana not regularly fulfilling its counterpart financing obligations, it is sad to note that Ghana did not even confirm and redeem its pledge of $1 million during the 6th Replenishment,” the Executive Director stated.
Mrs Senoo said the continuous show of lack of commitment on the part of Ghana puts the country in the bad light internationally and called on the Minister to show commitment to Ghanaians and the world.
Mr Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, the President, Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, mentioned that through the support of the Global Fund, Ghana had been able to increase HIV Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) coverage to over 70 per cent.
This reflects the Government’s commitment to reaching Ghana’s 350,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) including through differentiated service delivery models, while reducing AIDS related deaths to 35 per cent from 2010-2021, he stated.
Mr Ortsin noted that the TB Programme had been able to reduce TB–related deaths by 12 per cent around the same period while increasing treatment success rates from 60 per cent in 2002 to consistently above 80 per cent over the last 10 years.
“Malaria-related deaths decreased more than 85 per cent from 2,799 in 2012 to 308 in 2020 with over 79 per cent of Ghana’s population having access to Long Lasting Insecticide Nets,” he said.
The Fund during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic made available medical oxygen through three new PSA plants, 12 modular oxygen concentrators, 648 patient monitors, and 176 ventilators to treat the most severe of patients among others, he added.
Mrs Elsie Ayeh, National President of Persons Living with HIV(PLHIV), recounting the challenges of PLHIV, pleaded with the Government to step-up the commitment to ensure their health and future.
Mr Jerry Amoah-Larbi, the National Coordinator TB Voice Network, said it was not fair that Ghana continued to benefit immensely from the Global Fund grant and not contribute anything.
He said one in four persons die of TB in Ghana every hour, adding that TB medication was bought by the Global Fund and made accessible free of charge, saying, “so this is the time the government needs to make the commitment and redeem it in New York.