Wa, Dec. 3, GNA – The National Association of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (NAP+) has appealed to the government to deal ruthlessly with people including health workers, employees and landlords who stigmatize and discriminate against People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
The appeal was made in a communiqué issued by the Women’s Wing of NAP+ at an advocacy meeting organised by ActionAid-Ghana in Wa.
The communiqué, which was read by Madam Regina Zaghe, Nap+ Women’s Wing Leader, noted that if such a drastic measure was not put in place by the government, stigmatization and discrimination against PLHIV would not stop.
The communiqué also called on the government to take steps to ensure regular supply of antiretroviral (ART) drugs in order to make it accessible at all health facilities just as it did for malaria drugs.
The communiqué appealed to the government to abolish the GH¢5.00 charge for ART and rather ensure its integration into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) drug coverage list.
The communiqué also expressed concern about the difficulty involved in accessing the alleged one percent common fund by PLHIV at the District Assemblies.
It therefore appealed to the government to deduct the money at source and pay it direct into the accounts of NAP+ as done for People with Disabilities.
Mr. George Dery, an Official from ActionAid, said several of such advocacy meetings had been held in the past and the outcome was the installation of CD4 count machines in all District Hospitals in the Upper West Region in addition to accessibility to ART in all the hospitals.
Hitherto, people travelled from the region to Bolgatanga or Kumasi in order to access the drug and other services.
Mr. Dery appealed to NAP+ to continue to work together not only to get government support but also to reduce the spread of HIV among the populace in the region and the nation at large.
He also pledged that ActionAid-Ghana would continue to partner with right holders to advocate for improved living conditions for PLHIV to enable them live normal lives and contribute their quota towards the development of mother Ghana.
Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf commended ActionAid-Ghana for the support it had been giving to PLHIV in the region over the years.
He said such support had contributed to a reduction in the HIV prevalence rate in the region from 3.1% in 2009, 1.7% in 2010 and 1.0% in 2011 as indicated in the 2011 HIV Sentinel Survey Report.
Alhaji Sulemana called for redoubling of efforts to prevent new infections, AIDS related deaths and stigmatization as captured in the theme for the 2012 World AIDS Day Celebration.
The Regional Minister said the government was committed to the health care of PLHIV and to prove this during this year’s World AIDS day celebration, President John Dramani Mahama gave a directive for the removal of the GH¢5.00 service charge on accessing ART by persons currently under the NHIS.
He also announced that plans were ready to register all PLHIV on the NHIS to enable them access the drug free of charge.
Alhaji Sulemana commended NAP+ for coming together as a body and urged them to use the platform to encourage more people to voluntarily go for testing to know their status.
Mr. Emmanuel Beluzeb, Regional President of NAP+ commended ActionAid and the government for their commitment to support them to live normal lives to contribute their quota to the development of mother