Minister of State, Private Sector Development and Public Private Partnerships, Dr Rashid Pelpuo, has called on the private sector to support the government to fight the spread of HIV.
He noted that the fight against HIV and AIDS is a national programme hence the need for all to come on board and help the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in its quest to fight the pandemic.
Addressing a roundtable on resource mobilisation for HIV and AIDS with the private sector in Accra, Dr Pelpuo, noted that the call on the private sector to help in the fight has become eminent due to the decision by development partners to withdraw their aid because the nation had attained a low middle income status.
“Due to our status as a low middle income country, our development partners are beginning to scale back in the fight against HIV and as a result the GAC would have to rely on all including the private sector to help in the fight,” he added.
He noted that aside from the loss of lives and poor health, HIV and AIDS also lead to the loss of livelihood and reduction in productivity, which also affects all including those in the private sector.
“The post 2015 Global Agenda Target also means that by 2020, we should work to ensure that that 90 per cent of all HIV patients living on antiretroviral therapy would have viral suppression,” he added.
He called on businesses in the country to support the Commission in its fight against the infection to prove to Africa and the rest of the world that left alone or without much assistance from outside, “we could still make an impact”.
He urged Ghanaians to come on board in the fight against the HIV as the prevalence rate in the country had risen from 1.37 per cent in 2013 to 1.47 per cent in 2014.
Mrs Angela El-Adas, Director General of the GAC, expressed appreciation to religious bodies for their assistance and the platforms they offered for the propagation of the HIV and AIDS education to their congregation.
She said the Commission is also working assiduously on the establishment of an HIV Fund which is currently before Parliament.
She mentioned the dwindling funds for public health programmes including HIV, inadequate supplies of commodities such as HIV and syphilis test kits, condoms and drugs, cost of treatment for HIV positive mothers and children and stigmatisation of HIV people as some of the major challenges of the GAC.
On the Commission’s achievements, Mrs El-Adas named an improved coordination at decentralised levels through the establishment of Technical Support Units at Regional Coordinating Councils and an increase in the coverage of Persons Living with HIV from 30.5% in 2009 to 63% in 2013 in spite of increasing demand as some of the achievements.
Mr Alhassan Imoro Andani, Managing Director of the Stanbic Bank Ghana who was the Chairman, expressed his appreciation to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for its financial assistance to the GAC and called on all private organizations to emulate the company.
In an open forum, the participants who were drawn from private companies in the country called on the GAC to explore other means of fund raising such as the use of social media and also endeavor to put pressure on companies which pledge to redeem them.