- On November 18, 2018
By: Mukaila Adamu, People for Health Civil Society Organization Advisor, SEND Ghana
District AIDS committees have a long list of activities to perform as part of their mandate to reduce the spread of HIV in Ghana. They include increasing awareness of mother-to-child HIV transmission, reducing stigma and discrimination, organizing annual World AIDS Day activities, and supporting people living with HIV.
Yet the only funds government currently makes available to the committees is 0.5% of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), which is about GHS 10,000 a year.
No wonder a study conducted by People for Health (P4H) in 2017 found no committee was able to execute 100 percent of its mandate.
The district AIDS committees need more funding to carry out their activities at the local level. HIV remains among the top 10 leading causes of death in the country and the rate of new infections is on the rise. Between 2010 and 2016, the rate of HIV infections increased by an alarming 21 percent. Most newly infected people were youth.
The P4H National Advocacy Team is calling government to increase the 0.5% of the DACF currently allocated to district AIDS committees to 2%.
I believe government should go further to increase domestic funding for HIV programs by using a percentage of the Heritage Fund.
The Heritage Fund provides an endowment to support future generations when the petroleum reserves have been depleted. But what use is the Heritage Fund to future generations if we cannot protect them from HIV?
While donor funding dwindles, using a percentage of the Heritage Fund is a necessary way government can provide enough resources to fight this killer disease and do what the fund was established to do in the first place: protect future generations of Ghanaians.