President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday stressed the need to extend HIV/AIDS prevention interventions to all segments of the population in order to sustain and fast-track efforts at eliminating the disease.
He noted that though Ghana had achieved a steady and gradual decline in HIV prevalence from 3.6 percent in 2003 to 1.3 percent in 2015, certain segments of the population, including commercial sex workers and homosexuals, still recorded very high prevalence levels, which ought not to be so.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he inaugurated a 19-member reconstituted governing Board of the Ghana AIDS Commission at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
The Board, which is chaired by the President himself, includes the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba, Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Mokowaa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, and the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare.
The others are; Dr Leticia Appiah, Executive Director of the National Population Council, Mr Baah Wadieh, Government Statistician, Mr Victor Atta Ntumi, President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Emmanuel Beluzebr Suurkure, President, Network of Associations of People Living with HIV, Dr Kojo Appiah-Kubi, MP, Dr Alhaji Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, MP and Reverend Fr Lazarus Anondee, representative of Christian Groups.
The rest are; Dr Mubarak Osei-Kwasi, Representative of the Federation of Muslim Councils and Ahmadiyya Mission, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton, representative of the National House of Chiefs, Mrs Victoria Hajar, Representative of Ghana Employers Association, Ms Teresa Nadia Abugah, representative of labour organisations, Mrs Lucy B. Ofori Ayeh and Dr Daniel Oduro-Mensah, both Presidential appointees.
President Akufo-Addo said, based on advances in the frontiers of science and new ways of dealing with HIV and AIDS, to be infected by HIV did not mean a progression to AIDS, saying “to be HIV positive is not a death warrant”.
He noted that due to the availability and easy accessibility to anti-retroviral drugs, people living with HIV AIDS could live long, healthy and productive lives and called for partnerships and an improved enabling environment to sustain the fight against the disease.
The President believed the diverse background of the members would ensure that the Board delivered on the mandate of the Commission.
“I am confident that with resourcefulness, hard work and commitment, we can achieve our set targets”.
Dr Mubarak Osei-Kwasi who spoke on behalf of the members of the Governing Board, thanked the President for the opportunity to serve the country and assured that they would put their shoulders to the wheel to eliminate HIV and AIDS