Ghana strives to meet 90-90-90 target by 2020

Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Dec 3, GNA  – Seventy per cent of estimated persons
living with HIV (PLHIV) in Ghana knew their status as at the end of October
this year, the Ministry of Health has announced.

This means that
efforts needed to be increased in order for the country to attain the 90 per
cent fast-track target and the UNAIDS’s goal of all persons living with HIV,
being aware of their status by 2020. 

The 90-90-90
strategy seeks to have 90 per cent of PLHIV aware of their status by 2020;
while 90 per cent of all individuals diagnosed with HIV placed on sustained
Anti-retroviral medicine; and 90 per cent of individuals who were initiated
into Antiretroviral treatment (ART) achieving viral suppression.

The concept was
introduced by the United Nation’s programme on HIV/AIDS in 2013, in an attempt
to get the HIV epidemic under control and based on the principal of universal
testing and treating.

In January this
year, reports indicated that Ghana had only achieved 65-37-64 of the 90-90-90 target, “which was not so good, looking at the time limit”.

Dr Naa Ashiley
Vanderpuye, the Chief Executive Officer of the West Africa AIDS Foundation
(WAAF), in the beginning of the year, expressed worry that “with the trend we
are going it doesn’t look like we will be able to reach our 90-90-90 target by
2020 if something doesn’t change,”

She was speaking in
an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of the Annual Review
Meeting of Non-State Actors in Health (NSA) in Accra.

She said the country
needed to increase action to enable her to achieve the ambitious 90-90-90

However, Mr
Alexander K.K. Abban, a Deputy Minister of Health, at a national durbar held in
Accra, to commemorate the 2019 World AIDs Day, said: “Greater oversights,
community monitoring and accountability at regional and district levels are
critical to ensure improved performance and quality care “.

“That will set the
stage for us to break transmission and ensure the HIV epidemic control in the
general population”.

He said currently,
approximately 142,000 persons were on ART out of over 300,000 who were enrolled
into the Antiretroviral care.

The global theme for
the Day was: “Communities make a difference” and Ghana chose
“Communities make the difference, help end AIDS” as its local theme.

The Deputy Health
Minister said the theme for 2019 AIDS day was a call for renewed commitment and
passion by communities to reinforce their collaboration with the Ghana Health
Service and other agencies at all levels of implementation to speedily expand
access to differentiated testing and treat services.

He said such efforts
should focus on strengthening linkage to treatment and retention in care in
order to minimise client attrition.

Mr Abban called for
the reinforcement of prevention education to complement treatment prevention,
adding that that was the only way “We can effectively suppress and stop
new infections from the current 19, 000 annual average to zero.

He called on civil
society organisations to take advantage of the task-sharing guidelines to
contribute their quota to the Ministry’s effort.

On his part, Mr
Kyeremeh Atuahene, Acting Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said
the country made appreciable progress in the national response, having
sustained a low HIV prevalence, which was currently at 1.7 per cent.

He said in the last
nine years, new infections have been reduced by 22 per cent, according to the
2018 national estimates report.

He however, was
quick to add that despite the progress made, the decline in new infections was
not significant enough to bend the epidemic curve, especially,as annual AIDS
deaths remained too high.

He, therefore,
emphasised on partnership with the media as crucial to inform, educate and
galvanise community action towards ending AIDS. 


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