The Global Fund has reaffirmed its commitment to support the country in the fight against the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Consequently, the fund has pledged to release $5 million to support the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in the treatment programme of People Living with HIV/AIDS.
This is in sharp contrast with media reportage in recent times that the Global Fund had withdrawn its support to the GAC because some staff of GAC were alleged to have diverted funds meant for national response to HIV/AIDS Ghana.
The Director in charge of Policy and Planning of the GAC, Dr Joseph Kwadwo Amuzu, who announced that at a media interaction, said the national response to HIV/AIDS Ghana had received substantial funding from the Global Fund.
?I wish to confirm that the Global Fund continues to support Ghana and has just this afternoon pledged to support and release $5 million towards our treatment programme of the AIDS control,? he stressed.
Dr Amuzu assured that no staff of the GAC had diverted funds because the commission saw diversion of funds as criminal and the commission was not into criminal activities.
The Country Co-ordinator of the UNAIDS, Mr Girmay Haile, said the Ghana HIV/AIDS Response was one of the leading HIV responses in the world and was, therefore, not happy that the media was negating the progress made so far.
?This country does not deserve this kind of setback,? he said, adding that Ghana was leading in the elimination of the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
He said Ghana was recording successes, ?and we must not be distracted by unnecessarily and unfairly placed issues that shape external partners? confidence.?
The Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme at the Ghana Health Service, Nii Akwei Addo, explained that in 2011, the Global Fund reprioritised its intervention to the prevention of the mother-to-child transmission.
He said the fund had been supporting 49,000 people who were already on treatment every year, while Ghana took up the enrolment of new cases ?and we as a country must then take up the responsibility of enrolling new cases and we have set up a target of enrolling 15,000 new persons for treatment every year.?
Nii Akwei said as a result of the reprioritisation, the Global Fund was also not supporting the provision of test kits and following that, the government had provided funds for additional test kits and as at September this year, ?we have received 1.6 million kits for the HIV test and that has been distributed throughout the country.?
He announced that between January and March 2014, Ghana had been invited under the new funding mechanism to submit a proposal to the Global Fund for funds to cover three more years, starting from 2015, ?since it had already pledged its support of $5 million for 2014. So, it is not true that the Global Fund has decided to leave us.?
On patronising local pharmaceutical companies for the anti-retroviral drugs, Nii Addo announced that it was not possible to use money from the Global Fund to buy from the local pharmaceuticals, but that, the Ministry of Health had been using funds from the government to buy drugs locally, citing that in 2012, the ministry spent $5.5 million.
?Funding from the Global Fund has its requirement and guidelines. To use Global Fund money, you must buy products that have been certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or any other stringent regulatory body,? he explained, adding that the local pharmaceutical company producing the drugs was not fully certified by those bodies.