Upper East Region records low HIV prevalence

Bolgatanga (U/E), The Upper East Region has for the past two years recorded a low prevalence rate of 1.5 per cent for the Human Immune Virus (HIV).

This is one of the lowest in the country.

A sentinel survey report said HIV prevalence in the region reduced from1.7 percent in 2013 to 1.4 per cent in 2014 and is presently 1.5 per cent.

Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, said this at the Regional Dissemination of the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP) 2016-2020 and the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) Act 2016 (ACT 938) meeting in Bolgatanga.

He called on stakeholders not to be complacent as there were endemic challenges to overcome.

Mr Bukari said in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 3, the world could succeed in eliminating HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030 if effective and urgent prevention and intervention programmes are implemented.

It is in the light of this realization that the Government of Ghana and its partners developed the fourth National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS in accordance with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS and the World Health Organization’s Treat All policy.

The Minister said government was poised to implement the GAC’s Act which would establish a National HIV and AIDS fund to mobilize resources to provide reliable and adequate funding for the national response to HIV and AIDS.

He said stigma and discrimination remains high and the activities of self-styled herbalists and spiritualists tend to threaten the success of the campaign.

Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, Acting Director General of the GAC, said the national response over the last two decades has been guided by three strategic plans, namely; the National HIV and AIDS strategic framework I and II for the years 2001 to 2005 and 2006 to 2010 respectively.

She said the GAC together with its stakeholders embarked on a programme to evaluate its impact to inform the development of a new strategy for the next five years.

She said the challenges and gaps identified by stakeholders at the regional and district levels at the 2015 partnership forum led to the development of the new NSP 2016 � 2020.

Dr Adu-Gyamfi said there was a need for all stakeholders to be well informed about the content of the strategic plan, to enable them have a clear understanding of the strategic direction of the national response.

Dr Kofi Issah, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), who chaired the function, said 99 percent of pregnant women in the region were tested for HIV at the various antenatal clinics as part of the sentinel survey.

He thanked all stakeholders especially health staff for working diligently to improve health care in the region.

Source: Ghana News Agency