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24.04.2008 General News

Lack of home-based care for AIDS patients renders ART drugs ineffective

By Samuel Agbewode, Ho - Ghanaian Chronicle

The effort by the government to help reduce
the scourge of HIV/AIDS, as well as its spread, would not be effective if the necessary steps are not taken, to ensure that HIV/AIDS-related issues are not addressed holistically.

For instance, the administration of HIV Anti Retro Viral Drugs (ART), at the Volta Regional Hospital, even though of very good intention, the drugs were not providing the needed support to the patients, as a result of lack of basic care for the patients, which would assist the drugs to work effectively.

The Director of a Ho-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and related issues, New Seed International, Mr. Livinus Acquah-Jackson, made this known in an interview, saying home-based care for HIV/AIDS patients, remained a major problem.

Mr. Acquah- Jackson pointed out that the death toll of AIDS patients, who were on drugs, was on the increase in the region, because during the period that the patients were taking the drugs, they were denied the needed home-based care, and eventually die, mostly because they either get little or no food to eat, thereby rendering the drugs ineffective.

The New Seed International Director noted that in view of the developments associated with AIDS patients, particularly those on drugs, there was the need for the Ghana AIDS Commission, to adopt a new strategy towards addressing issues in relation to AIDS patients, as well as control measures on the HIV/AIDS disease.

Mr. Acquah-Jackson lamented that even though there were many NGOs, working in the area of HIV/AIDS, most of them being intellectuals, and could write convincing proposals, they took advantage and were given monies, which were used only either to organize workshops in towns, or could write reports about how such funds were used, to the detriment of people living in the rural areas.

He continued that as a result other NGOs, who were actually doing the work, by providing the relevant support, including home-based care, were rather denied assistance from the AIDS Commission fund, like his organization, which was really championing a worthy cause. A situation which was hindering the efforts of the few NGOs, committed to supporting HIV/AIDS patients, and prevention.

Mr. Acquah- Jackson disclosed that currently, New Seed International was taking care of 87 identified HIV/AIDS patients, in the Ho municipality, but was finding it difficult in its activities, because of lack of financial support, noting that his organization applied for financial support from the Ghana AIDS Commission, but has since not received any money from the institution.

He again said that out of the organization's own efforts, it established a Palliative Care Clinic for AIDS patients, a school for patients' children, and training center to equip unemployed youth, particularly young ladies, adding that it was surprising that even the one per cent from the District Assembly Common Fund, which was supposed to be given as support to NGOs working in the area of HIV/AIDS, was not forthcoming.

Mr. Acquah-Jackson, therefore, appealed to the Ghana AIDS Commission, to intensify its monitoring mechanism, to ensure that all those who were taking money from the Commission, duly account for how they use such funds, and alleged that the NGOs, who were committed and doing the work, were rather not being given the needed support.

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