Health News of Monday, 19 August 2013

Source: GNA

Abolish tax on condom - Group

The Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) on Monday called on government to abolish tax on condoms as any increase in price would erode the gains made towards increasing contraceptive use.

Madam Cecilia Senoo, Vice Chairperson for GCNH, at a news conference in Accra, said the tax to be charged on condoms would not generate any wealthy resources worth the risk of derailing the nation’s effort at lowering the AIDS prevalence and increasing condom use.

She said the reduced HIV and AIDS prevalent rate was achieved at the back of extreme reluctance by the people in lower income bracket and the youth to pay a token for a strip of condom, and it is imperative that the prices remain the same.

“It is vital that sexually active youth have access to condoms as an alternative to abstinence to prevent them from contacting HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies, which may push them to have unsafe abortions,” she said.

Madam Senoo revealed that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) campaigning for HIV prevention have not had their kits for HIV testing and counselling and their efforts are, therefore, not producing any good results.

“The HIV testing and counseling is the entry point to HIV treatment and it is key to the national HIV strategic plan which aims at zero new HIV infection, zero mother-to-child transmission and zero new HIV related deaths.”

She has, therefore, called on government to procure test kits in large quantity to encourage voluntary testing and counseling and also honour the promise to make funding available to the Ghana AIDS Commission to be disbursed to CSO's engaged in HIV prevention, care and support activities.

Madam Senoo urged government to procure high quality condoms and make them available to CSOs for distribution to the targeted population.