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Health News of Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Source: GNA

Fund to be set up for HIV/AIDS treatment

A National Fund is to be set up to support the treatment of people infected with HIV and AIDS, Dr. Joseph Amuzu, Director for Policy and Planning, Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has said.

He said it will be independent of the Consolidate Fund and would be just exclusively for the cost of care for the infected.

This comes on the heels of the decision by the Managers of the Global Fund to discontinue its assistance to the country.

Dr. Amuzu was speaking at a day’s workshop on dissemination of the national HIV policy held in Kumasi for district health directors and other health professionals, the security services, faith-based organizations and community leaders.

The policy is focusing on scaling up the education campaign to help significantly slow down the spread of the disease and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Key populations targeted include pregnant women –to halt mother-to-child transmission, sex workers, homosexuals and persons who engage in drug injection.

Prisoners are also adequately covered under the disease’s treatment and management.

Dr. Amuzu said everything would be done to make sure that home-based test kits were accessible to the population, he added.

The Ashanti Regional HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Dr. Thomas Agyarko Poku, said 224 people died of the disease in 2013 in the region, the highest number of deaths recorded in a single year.

He described the figure as unacceptably high and attributed it to the late report of patients to the health facilities and unexplained reasons by some of those living with the disease to discontinue treatment.

He called for the opening of more treatment centres and said the present situation where only 17 out of the 30 Ashanti districts had such centres was not good enough and unhelpful to the fight to overcome the spread of the infection.