The Ghana AIDS Commission has launched the 2015 World AIDS Day on the theme “Fast Truck: Meeting the Health Needs of Children Towards an HIV-Free Generation”.
Among the activities earmarked for the celebration are a series of advocacy, media and community related activities, culminating in a Grand Durbar in Sunyani, on Tuesday, December 1.
World AIDS Day is held on December 1, each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
The Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
Dr Angela El-Adas, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission in her keynote address at the launch in Teshie, Accra, said the Commission resolves to accelerate the implementation of comprehensive, targeted prevention and treatment programmes for all within the borders of the country.
She said the reduction of new HIV infections among children had been among the most remarkable successes in their HIV and AIDS response.
She lauded the Commission’s partners such as the Ghana Health Service, Mission Hospitals and private facilities; as well as partners in the communities – who continue to ensure that every woman hears the good news to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV and assisted mothers to seek antenatal and HIV prevention services.
She also acknowledged development and funding partners who support the efforts of the government to ensure that commodities and logistics were available; and service providers remain in action.
She said: “This year marks a milestone in the national HIV response. We have come to the close of implementing the current five-year comprehensive Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS.
“Our work over the last five-years has been evaluated by a team of independent consultants, along with our partners across the country,” she added.
She said recommendations from the evaluation would form part of the evidence that would help them develop a new National Strategic Plan 2016-2020.
She encouraged all to take advantage of any HIV services at their door steps throughout the months of November and December.
Mr Seth Badu Tawiah, Municipal Chief Executive of Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Assembly, said the event provided an occasion for self-reflection and stock taking for the past years that we have been combating the HIV menace.
He said the Day reminded us that HIV and AIDS was real and that anyone stands the risk of being infected or affected, irrespective of one’s religion, gender, occupation or social standing.
“I must admit that the tasks ahead are enormous considering the high prevalence rate in parts of the country.
“This mean we need to scale up our effort and support UNAIDS, Ghana AIDS Commission, Ghana Health Service and other agencies in the fight against AIDS to bring down the prevalence.
“We should also use the opportunity to unite and show solidarity to people living with HIV and AIDS and to give them the needed support and encouragement,” Mr Tawiah said.
Dr Christine Evans-Klock, United Nations Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative to Ghana, lauded Ghana’s election as Vice Chair of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
She further described it as a sign of confidence on how the Government of Ghana manages the AIDS response.