The Ahafo Region has an estimated 8,507 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs).
According to the Regional Health Director, Dr. Kwabena Boateng Boakye, about 4,149 out of the number are aware of their status, while 4,152 are receiving treatment as of August 2021.
The current situation (49%-10%-73%) is below the HIV epidemic control target of 95%-95%-95%, where 95% of all PLHIV know their status, 95% of the diagnosed persons receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of them have viral suppression.
Dr. Boateng Boakye stated that the region’s overall HIV prevalence stood at 2.1%, which is higher than the national prevalence of 1.6%.
To help achieve UNAID’s HIV/AIDS epidemic control, the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project implemented by JSI Research and Training Institute, is replicating the success store of the project in the Western and Western North Regions to the Ahafo Region.)
The Care Continuum Project is designed to improve initiatives to provide quality comprehensive HIV services for the PLHIV.
The Project team works with the Ghana Health Service, Ghana AIDS Commission, Civil Society Organizations, and the beneficiaries to strengthen Ghana’s abilities to develop, manage, and execute innovative HIV projects while using local approaches to make HIV service accessible and reduce stigma and discrimination in health settings.
Speaking at the project inception meeting at Goaso, Dr. Kwabena Boateng Boakye explained that the USAID/PEPFAR conducted a scoping visit to the Ahafo Region to assess their HIV prevalence and care situation.
“We are extremely grateful to the USAID for extending this collaboration to our region, especially within our context of being a resource-constrained newly created region in Ghana”, he said.
He further said, “Constraints such as low viral load coverage, poor linkage rates, inadequately trained staff in ART management and data capture of HIV activities, inadequate ART sites, continue to hinder our forward march towards the set goals”.
The new region Dr. Boakye said, is still challenged with vehicle availability to facilitate monitoring and supervision of service delivery activities in general.
Also, there is over reliance on the Bono Regional Medical store for logistics and medicines. He, therefore, appealed for aid to assist proper healthcare services to residents.
He pledged his team’s commitment to work closely with the USAID Care Continuum Project and partners to achieve the target of the HIV/AIDS epidemic control.
On her part, the USAID Country Director for Health, Population and Nutrition Office, Zohra Balsara, stressed the need for total commitment from all stakeholders to help achieve the goals.
She assured the Ahafo Regional Health Directorate, that the US government, USAID, and its partners are ready to work together to achieve what she described as “ambitious goals set collectively”.
The Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Mr. Atuahene Kyeremeh, expressed worry about the additional burden the high HIV prevalence has on the new region with many developmental challenges.
He, however, assured the stakeholders that the Commission is marshaling full power to support the region to overcome HIV and the related epidemic in line with the national goal of achieving the 95-95-95 target by 2025.
He said such a response would also position the country’s target to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.
Mr. Kyeremeh believes the Care Continuum Project, which has the best models and approaches in modern HIV response, and with the success store of the Western Region in mind, would help the Ahafo Region and the country as a whole to achieve its targets.
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