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General News of Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Source: Daily Graphic

AIDS patients in danger as Global Fund cuts aid

The lives of more than 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana may be in danger after 2013 because the Global Fund, the main financier of treatment for HIV/AIDS victims locally, has decided to withdraw its support for HIV/AIDS programmes in the country as a result of inadequate funds.

The fund’s five-year support for the treatment of 49,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana ended in April this year, but it was extended to April 2013.

This will, however, not include some 12,000 people living with the disease in Ghana who were not part of the programme five years ago.

The board of the cash-strapped fund recently announced that it would not make new grants until 2014.

The fund needed $20 billion to support projects across the globe to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis but received just $11 billion. This is the first time in the fund’s 10-year history that it had been forced to cancel its three-year funding.

Currently, there are 61,393 HIV/AIDS infected people living on anti-retroviral drugs in Ghana. Out of that 2,812 are children, while the adult population is around 58,581, with about 8,000 being pregnant women.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the fringes of the seventh Annual Partnership Forum of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Dr Nii Akwei Addo, the Programme Manager of the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, who confirmed the implications of the withdrawal of the Global Fund support, stated that the development posed a threat to sustaining progress made with people living with the disease in Ghana.

The two-day event is to review progress on the implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes and activities, build concensus and galvanise technical and financial support for the next phase of the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP).

It is also to provide an outlook of the major areas of focus for 20112, as contained in the operational plan 2011-2013 of the NSP, for agreement.