Accra, May 27, GNA-The Emergency Plan of the US President in Support of AIDS (PEPFAR) is celebrating 15 years of saving the lives of over 14 million people globally with Lifesaving HIV Treatment.
In Ghana, PEPFER is 10 years also saving lives with HIV treatment.
Deputy Head of Mission Melinda Tabler Stone at a media round table briefing to announce PEPFER @15, said PEPFAR had supported HIV testing for more than eighty-five million people, including eleven percent two million pregnant women worldwide.
PEPFAR has also enabled more than 2.2 million babies to be born HIV-free to HIV-positive mothers and assists more than 6.4 million orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS to ensure the next generation can thrive.
To help protect men and boys from HIV infection, PEPFAR has supported more than 15.2 million of them with voluntary medical male circumcision. The latest PEPFAR data show a 25-40 percent decline or greater in new HIV diagnoses among adolescent girls and young women in nearly two-thirds of the highest-HIV-burden communities implementing PEPFAR’s Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) public-private partnership across 10 African countries.
PEPFER @ 15, is on the theme “15 years of saving lives through American generosity and prosperity ” and will be a year-long celebration.
In Ghana, Ms Tabler-Stone explained that the US had also supported the HIV response in Ghana with about $ 200 million over the last decade and US government remained the largest donor to Ghana’s HIV / AIDS response with its contributions through the Global Fund and the Emergency Plan of US President for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR,Ghana Programme.
The $ 200 million support to Ghana, focused on key populations, care and treatment, strengthening the laboratory, strategic information and supply chain.
The Deputy Head of Mission said their support was based on a strong partnership with the government of Ghana and non-profit organisations.
She noted that in October 2016, Ghana successfully passed UN targets 90-90-90. Through this commitment, the country would seek to receive and retain more than 260,000 HIV-infected individuals by 2020.
“The US government is optimistic about falling resources, The Ghana AIDS Commission will ensure sustainability and accelerate efforts to end the HIV epidemic by 2030”, she added.
Ms. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission expressed gratitude to PEPFER for its support to the national response programme, which had been successful in its programmes implemented so far.
Dr Stephen Ayisi-Addo, Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) commended PEPFAR programme’s significant contribution to the reduction and control of HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ghana.
He said aside the financial assistance benefitted from PEPFAR, it had also built the capacity of stakeholders in data collection and analysis and ensured not only the storage of data but the ability to break it down into useful information.
“Our epidemic is on the decline, STI prevalence. Syphilis just marginally increased but we have noticed some swings in the various regions and we have noticed that there are some areas we need to focus on.
“And I am happy to indicate that clearly, one of the values that PEPFAR is bringing on board through Ambassador Birx is the need for us to look at data and to look at data disaggregated and once you have looked at it you can be able to tell for instance that the children or the adolescents are being left behind and therefore you need to institute measures to ensure that nobody is left behind” he stated.
Dr Ayisi Addo reaffirmed the commitment of the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health to the course to ensure that the pandemic was eliminated by 2030 and ensure that “we precede it with all the important actions by 2020″.