Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, has said the fight against HIV/AIDS menace must be of great concern to all and should not be left in the hands of the few.
“HIV/AIDS affects every Ghanaian either directly or indirectly and all must play their roles effectively in responding to the illness”, he said.
Alhaji Sulemana was addressing members of the Upper West Regional Social Accountability Monitoring Committee (SAMC) at their inaugural ceremony in Wa to help improve service delivery, social mobilisation and advocacy for social accountability.
He said the socio-economic development of Ghana depended on her human resource; especially the working population which was the most at risk of contracting the disease.
This, he said, meant that a collective effort was needed to grow the economy as a country and the effort to improve on the socio-economic well being of the people would be in jeopardy if Ghanaians did not leverage their unique individual strengths as a people for a collective response to the threat posed by HIV/AIDS.
Alhaji Sulemana said the 2014 report of the Health Sentinel Survey showed an unstable regional HIV/AIDS prevalence over the past decade.
For instance, HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the Region has been on the decline since 2007 from 3.3 per cent in 2007 to about 0.8 per cent in 2013 and it is now on the rise to about 1.3 per cent in 2014 and 2015.
This, he said, is an indication that the Region was still confronted with serious challenges despite government’s commitment in ensuring that the HIV/AIDS menace is drastically reduced or eliminated.
Alhaji Sulemana urged the committee members to bring their individual expertise to play while urging the Ghana AIDS Commission and other agencies such as the West Africa AIDS Foundation to ensure that the programme was implemented and sustained.
Dr Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, in a speech read on her behalf, said the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 under the New Fund Model was to provide preventive services to key populations and also strengthen community systems.
This, he said, would offer enormous opportunities for scaling up community and home based care and community tuberculosis care for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programmes respectively.
Dr El-Adas said the UNAIDS Global target is to end AIDS by 2030 and some African countries including Ghana have adopted it hence the Global 90-90-90 Fast Track targets by UNAIDS.
He said the target was aligned to the Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which states that “we need to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”.
It is envisaged, he said, that by 2020, he said, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV/AIDS should know their HIV/AIDS status, 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection should receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy should have achieved viral suppression.
Dr El-Adas said Ghana has launched its first 90 per cent campaign this year and would test 6 million people by 2017.