The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Samuel Nuertey Ayertey has commended the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders for fighting hard to reduce the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the region especially between 2002 and 2017. Hon. Ayertey said, Eastern Region has seen quite substantial reduction over the years with respect to the HIV prevalence. The percentage as at 2017 stood at 2.1% which is a significant reduction from 2.6% in 2016 and 7.9% in 2002. Speaking at an Advocacy Meeting organized by the Ghana AIDS Commission in Koforidua to discuss how to strengthen HIV Commodity Security in Eastern Region, the Deputy Regional Minister indicated that Ghana has been implementing the 90-90-90 fast track targets since 2016 as a means to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030 which is also a target under the Goal three (3) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to him, one of the cardinals to achieving the fast track targets is to ensure that the supply of HIV commodities meet the demand for them; so that many people can access HIV testing services to know their status and those who are positive can be linked to treatment and also, retained in care to achieve viral suppression. Commodity Security is obtained when patients have all the medicines they need to treat their various ailments. AIDS competence simply means that every household should have knowledge about HIV infection, prevention knowledge and management of it. The Deputy Regional Minister was happy about the efforts made by some individuals and organizations in combating the HIV prevalence in the Region. Some of the individuals include Dr. S. B. Ofori who was the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) Regional Coordinator and Mrs. Golda Asante, the then HIV Focal Person for the Ghana AIDS who were all present at the meeting. "I was therefore not surprised when I heard that individuals and organizations in Eastern region namely Dr. S. B. Ofori, Mrs. Golda Asante, Monsignor Alex Bobby Benson, Mr. Joseph Tetteh from St. Martins Hospital, St. Dominic Hospital, Atua Government Hospital and St. Martins De Porres Hospital have been awarded for outstanding leadership in programme coordination, case management, putting up national policies and guidelines as well as marshaling stakeholders for the decentralized response to HIV"; Hon. Ayertey said. Some parts of the region were seriously affected during the early years of the HIV epidemic. For many years, this region was leading the HIV prevalence and some of the reasons accounting for the high prevalence and new cases were, low condoms use as a result of myths and misconceptions about condom and it's availability, especially the female one, low comprehensive education, stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV leading to some of them not being able to access treatment services. There was a whole mystery about HIV testing services than voluntary Testing and Counseling and it was shrouded with fear and panic and access to HIV prevention and treatment services was almost not in existence. At the meeting were Dr. S. B. Ofori, HIV Consultant & Dermatologist, Ms. Golda Asante, Director, Regional Coordinating Council, Dr. Mrs. Alberta Adjabeng, Regional Director of Health Services, and Mrs. Gifty Addo-Tetebo, Regional HIV Coordinator amongst others.
Source: Gilbert Nyarko/WatchGhana.Com