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05.07.2005 Regional News

Inadequate funding impeding fight against HIV/AIDS

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Tamale, July 05, GNA - Inadequate funding of NGOs and Community Based Organisations is hampering their fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Mr Marshall Ziemah, the Tamale Metropolitan Planning Officer, has said. He said this at a two-day stakeholders' "Validation Workshop on the HIV/AIDS Situation Report" organized by the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly in Tamale on Monday.

The Forum brought together teachers, parents, the Police, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ministry of Health, Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) as well as traditional and religious leaders.

Mr Ziemah said because of inadequate funding, support is given to only six small CBOs, while Voluntary Counselling and Testing Services (VCTS) were provided by only the Tamale Regional Hospital. He said the Ghana Health Service had trained 39 counsellors of the VCTS but because of the problem with funding they had not been provided with equipment with which to work.

He said the one per cent of the District Assemblies' Common Fund, which amounted to 50 million cedis a year allocated for HIV/AIDS activities, was inadequate.

Mr Ziemah said UNICEF supported the Metropolitan Assembly last year to do a baseline survey on the HIV/AIDS situation in the Metropolis and the data collected had been analysed and compiled into a Metro profile. Studies from the baseline survey indicated that the HIV prevalence was increasing steadily with the percentage of infected adults rising from 1.3 in 2000 to 1.6 per cent in 2001 and 2.4 per cent in 2002.

Mr Ziemah said in 2004, the HIV prevalence percentage rate for the Northern Region was 3.6 per cent, which is above the national average of 3.1 per cent.

Out Patients' Department attendance for sexually transmitted infections at the Tamale Regional Hospital in August 2003 was 859. He said because of the inadequate funding, activities of the NGOs and the CBOs were limited to prevention without regard to other areas such as condom use, VCT Services, stigma reduction, STI management and psychosocial support for People Living With HIV/AIDS.

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