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23.11.2007 General News

Funding For HIV/AIDS Campaign Reduced

By Clement Adzei Boye, Takoradi - newtimesonline.com

THE reduction in funding for HIV/AIDS activities is a great challenge to the fight against the global pandemic, the Western Regional HIV/AIDS Focal Person, Mrs Olivia Opoku-Adomah, has observed.

According to her, the present situation was because non-governmental organisa-tions (NGOs) and community based organisations (CBOs) had misappropriated funds provided by the Ghana AIDS Relief Fund (GARF) to finance HIV/AIDS activities.

Addressing journalists here at the launch of the regional AIDS Day which will fall on December 1, under the theme 'Leadership — reducing stigma and discrimination', Mrs Opoku-Adomah said that the situation had affected the whole nation.

Some NGOs and CBOs got as much as ¢250 million, but, she said, they did not use the funds for the proposed activities.

The consequence of these is that the donors have cut their quota for HIV/AIDS activities.

'Now, we have inadequate funding to implement vital programmes. The NGOs and CBOs misappropriated funds. They didn’t use the monies judiciously.' she stated.

She said that, the multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS programme had now devised a booklet which spelt out the criteria for who qualified to apply for funding.

Again, she said that, screening was done at both district and regional levels to ascertain who applied for what monies and for what activities.

She mentioned that the NGOS needed to be conscientised to reduce their reliance on the GAC for financial support adding they need to be self-financing.

The poor roads in the region she said were also affecting activities of the district focal persons.

'Majority of the district assemblies did not release their counterpart funding for HIV activities,' Mrs. Opoku-Adomah said.

The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwasi Blay, said that the media should sensitise all sectors of the society to help reduce the stigma attached to the pandemic.

Some journalists appealed to political leaders to take a cue from the South African example and lead the crusade in reducing discrimination among HIV patients.

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