Coordinator calls for change in methodology in HIV response

The Eastern Regional HIV Coordinator of the National AIDS Control Programme, Dr Emmanuel Amoah has called for a change in the methodology in the implementation of the country’s HIV response strategy.

He explained that, figures available indicates that, the situation where health personnel wait at health institutions expecting people to walk in to  test for their HIV status and those that test positive to seek treatment  is not helping the country to achieve the desired results.

Dr Amoah therefore called for community-based approach to the implementation of the country’s HIV response strategy for pregnant women who test HIV positive to be provided services in their communities.

Dr Amoah was briefing members of the Eastern Regional AIDS Committee on the HIV service data and activities planned for the year at Koforidua.

He said out of 2,433 pregnant women, who tested HIV positive in the region last year, only 450 delivered at health institutions in the region  and  only nine babies were monitored and offered treatment for up to  18 months after  delivery to determine their HIV status.

They remaining 441 children could not be traced because either the telephone numbers or other information given by their mothers were false and so could not be traced or they left the region altogether

He explained that, it is difficult to get adults to change their sexual behaviours to help control the HIV infection rate than to have an HIV free generation, if pregnant women who are diagnosed as HIV positive could be traced and given drugs until delivery and after delivery.

He said in 2014, 2,433 pregnant women tested positive in the region as against 1,633 in 2013.

He said in 2014, 1,516 women and 532 men who tested HIV-positive were put on the Antiretroviral Treatment (ART).

He said, this year, the region would focus on areas with high HIV prevalence to help reduce the rate of infection.

He said efforts would also be made by the region to intensify the community-based approach and implementing agencies given targets to achieve by following pregnant women who test positive to ensure that they receive treatment.

Ms Golda Asante, Eastern Regional Technical Coordinator of the Technical Support Unit (TSU) of the Ghana AIDS Commission said, during this year’s Kwahu Easter Paragliding Festival, the regional TSU of the GAC would partner the Regional AIDS Committee to undertake voluntary testing and counseling on HIV and peer education during the Easter Festivities.

She said the region also hopes to partner the media in the region to promote responsible sexual behaviours and focus its attention on reducing new infections at high prevalence areas.

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