World AIDS Day: Empowering communities for change

By Beyonce Diamond Kpogli II Contributor
Health World AIDS Day: Empowering communities for change
DEC 1, 2023 LISTEN

Ahead of World AIDS Day, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital took a proactive step by hosting a sensitization engagement for its staff.

The focus was on rallying support for community-led efforts in the ongoing battle against AIDS.

A recent UNAIDS report underscored the crucial role communities play in this fight. It sheds light on the obstacles these communities face, including underfunding and harmful barriers that impede their life-saving work.

The theme for this year's celebration, "Let Communities Lead," resonates deeply. It aligns with the vibrant energy and innovation exhibited by young leaders worldwide, shaping the global HIV response.

During the commemorative event at the Ridge Hospital conference room on Thursday, November 30, Dr. Funmlayo B Annan, a pediatrician, emphasized that communities are the lifeblood of an effective AIDS response. Drawing from twenty-one years of experience, she stressed the need to empower communities to take the lead in Ghana's HIV response.

In recent years, young leaders have been at the forefront, challenging norms and advocating for comprehensive sex education, addressing human rights violations, and leveraging digital platforms for HIV awareness campaigns.

Under the Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) intervention of the Global Fund NFM III Project, HFFG (Sub Recipient under CHAG) is empowering HIV community members. This empowerment includes leading in services such as HIV education, adherence counseling, psychosocial support, eMTCT, and dispelling misconceptions about HIV.

Dr. Annan urged the government to unleash the power of grassroots communities nationwide, empowering them to lead in the fight to end AIDS.

Salome Tettey Frimpong, Nursing Officer at the Ridge Hospital emphasized the strategic imperative of empowering young people in the HIV response. She called on the Government of Ghana and HIV response implementors to prioritize and increase domestic resources for health, especially in the face of dwindling donor funding.

"Together, let's amplify the voices of young leaders, recognize their invaluable contributions, and walk hand in hand toward a future free from the shadow of HIV/AIDS. The time is now; the power lies within our communities—let's pave the way," she said.