Accra- Madam Cecelia Abena Dapaah Minister for Aviation and the Executive Oversight of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has called the need to revive the support groups for Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) considering the pivotal role the support groups play in promoting the welfare of members.
She suggested the need to design strategies to leverage the resources and influence of affluent PLHIV to make the Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+ Ghana) and support groups self-sustaining.
The Minister made the call when the GAC Management offered a platform to NAP+ Ghana update her on their activities and discuss innovative ways to overcome the challenges facing NAP+ Ghana as an advocacy network.
The meeting highlighted contributions of NAP+ Ghana members, through services they provide in health facilities and communities.
Madam Dapaah directed the management of GAC support the NAP+ Ghana Executives to address the problems outlined in the discussion, saying, This could be facilitated through the setting up of an in-house committee.
The President of NAP+ Ghana, Mr Emmanuel Beluzebr Suukure, expressed his appreciation for the interaction and pleaded for the assistance to resuscitate NAP+ support groups.
Giving the history of the network, Mr Suukure said NAP+ Ghana was formed in 2005 to address the widespread stigma and discrimination against PLHIV in the early years of the epidemic.
He noted that, since its formation, NAP+ Ghana had engaged in advocacy and capacity building of its stakeholders and with the support of GAC, NAP+ had established functional Regional Secretariats in each of the 10 regions of Ghana.
The NAP+ President also appealed to the government to help address the discriminatory policies, which denied PLHIV employment in the security services as well as help consolidate the NAP+ secretariat by affording them permanent offices with qualified personnel to support the day-to-day administration of the national NAP+ Ghana secretariat.
At the meeting were the Heart-to-Heart Ambassadors, some national and regional executives and Models of Hope who took turns to address the Minister.
They unanimously appealed to the government, through the Minister, to help remove the financial barriers to HIV treatment, adding that, these were primarily associated with the cost of mandatory laboratory tests prescribed for PLHIV as part of routine clinical management.
Source: Ghana News Agency