The Ghana AIDS Commission has launched a web-based system known as the Ghana Key Population Unique Identification System (GKPUIS), to improve the data process for Key Population (KP) programmes in Ghana.
The GKPUIS, which is a unique and home-grown national electronic HIV database system, was developed in partnership with West Blue Consulting, an IT consulting and technology firm, using advanced technology that also ensures a secured centralised system.
Its unique features include the generation of unique identification Codes (UIC) based on the predefined system to uniquely identify each KP community member, and the ability to minimise double counting.
Dr Mokowah Blay Adu-Gyamfi, the Presidential Advisor on HIV and AIDS, in her opening statement at the launch in Accra on Tuesday, commended the GAC and WestBlue Consulting for the great achievement through hard work.
She said the GKPUIS, which would go a long way to support the generation of summarised reports for various programmatic indicators, and announced that the development of the GKPUIS was fully funded by the Government of Ghana, with PEPFAR also funding the Training of Trainers for KP Implementing Partners.
She stated that the theme for the launch, which was “Leaving No One Behind by Reaching the Unreached,” could not be better because the system seeks to provide services to all KPs and vulnerable groups as well as improve data quality.
Dr Adu-Gyamfi said the launch, therefore “charts a path for an improved, accurate and reliable data management system for Key populations programme in Ghana and also support efficient and evidence-based planning, which is data driven for the national response”.
Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, the Acting Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, who launched the GKPUIS, noted that the HIV prevalence among KP sub-population was several times higher than that of the general populace, so prioritising these group in the national HIV and AIDS response, was not only the reasonable thing to do, but a best practice in public health.
“In this respect, as a public health institution, the Ghana AIDS Commission does not promote the activities of these sub-populations. Rather, the Commission seeks to live up to its mandate by ensuring that every Ghanaian who is HIV negative continues to live free of HIV and those living with HIV receive life-saving treatment and care services in a sustainable way,” he said.
Again, from this public health perspective, he said controlling HIV among KPs was the best approach to reducing new infections in the general population, and “if we choose to exclude the key populations, they and the people within their sexual networks would spread the virus in the general population”.
He said it was in this spirit of leaving no one behind that the GKPUIS was developed to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of HIV and AIDS programmes designed for KPs and that by the launch, the GAC would be presenting to KP implementing partners and stakeholders a new tool for collecting, analysing, and using accurate and reliable data to improve the quality of management decisions.
He said the system establishes the foundation for estimating the population size of KPs at hotspots and communities, and further monitor and track the services they receive [GR21] as they moved from one locality to another.
Mr Atuahene said the System would be fully compliant with data protection and security regulations, and all users were to strictly adhere to confidentiality requirements and was expected to be integrated with the Ghana Health Service’s e-Tracker to track the number of KP of PLHIV who were enrolled and retained on treatment and were virally suppressed.
The GKPUIS platform would create an enabling environment for an increased “data-use” culture among KP organisations who would not only collect data but also analyse them to track monthly targets and trends and find ways to improve management and service quality to sustain effective response at the community level.
Additionally, the success of the system would require continuous support and commitment from the KP implementing partners to maintain the continuous collaboration with the Commission to ensure sustainability of the GKPUIS.
Mr Alexander Abban, the Deputy Minister of Health, commended the GAC and its partners for the partnership, saying, the development of the GKPUIS would contribute in no small way in ensuring that high-quality data was captured in a unique manner.
He said the Ministry was confident that all KP Organisations would find the system useful in capturing the required data for policy formulation and service provision both in Ghana and beyond.
Mr Mark Addo, the Chief Executive Officer of WestBlue Consulting, said Ghana was at the forefront of using such technologies, with India and Morocco having achieved similar, and that the country’s achievement sets the pace for the emulation of like-minded countries, and hoped.
He said the system would improve the efficiency of the Commission’s operations and assist in the long-term shared vision of meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and pledged the continuous support of his outfit for the sustainability of the GKPUIS programme for generations to come.
Dr Michael Melchior, the Country Director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Ghana, commended Ghana for the credible steps to ensure the attainment of the UNAIDS target of 90-90-90, with the aim to diagnose 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.