Withdrawal of Global Fund Support to Ghana could be disastrous – Akobeng

Agona Swedru (C/R), Jan. 30, GNA – The Agona West Municipal HIV and AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Focal Person, Mr Eric Akobeng has appealed to the Global Fund which funds about 70 per cent of Ghana’s anti-HIV campaign activities to rescind the decision to withdraw its support by 2013.

     Mr Akobeng said the withdrawal of the Global Fund Support could have a telling effect on the HIV education campaign and reverse the successes so far chalked in the reduction of HIV prevalence rate in Ghana.
     “I do not think that the Global Fund will be happy to hear that what it has taken some years to achieve in the fight against the dreadful HIV and AIDS pandemic has to be reversed,” he said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Agona Swedru.
     Mr Akobeng, who is also the Municipal Budget Analyst, said it appeared complacency was trying to set in by the reduction in the HIV prevalence rate in the country leading to a cut in the funding of HIV activities.
     He said the epidemic was at a point of stabilization, adding that “Ghana is not out of the woods yet.”
     He called on all organizations and individuals in the fight against the disease to maintain the momentum until the achievement of the overall national target of freeing the society of the threat of the disease.
     Mr Akobeng said results from a scientific study released in 2011 proved that treating HIV positive people with anti-retroviral drugs could reduce the risk of transmission by 96 per cent.
     “It is ironical that while we have the hard evidence about the power of HIV treatment, we don’t have the needed funds to protect people and save more lives,” he said and added that there would be crisis if nothing was done about the aid cut.
     He appealed to the government to look for internal funding for HIV prevention with contributions coming from government agencies, private sector enterprises, philanthropists, individuals and donor agencies.
     The HIV and AIDS Focal Person said the Agona West Municipal Assembly recorded 103 HIV and AIDS cases in 2008, in 2009 it moved up to 141 and 325 in 2010 and reduced to 205 in 2011.
     He said the Municipal AIDS Committee had prepared an HIV and AIDS Policy aimed at stabilizing and reversing the trend of the pandemic in the area.
     Mr Akobeng said an annual resource mobilization forum had been instituted to bring all stakeholders, including business entities together to pledge their support for the fight against the pandemic.
     He said the AIDS Committee was also working on forming HIV and AIDS Response Committees at the urban and zonal council levels.
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