The Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Health (GNCH), a civil society organisation (CSOs) has added its voice to the call on the government to waive taxes on condoms.
According to them, the tax on condoms would not generate any worthy resources.
Moreover, it said, the policy also contradicted the national efforts at addressing HIV/AIDS challenges, teenage pregnancy and high maternal mortality in the country.
The government has imposed taxes on condoms in a bid to increase revenue and meet its financial obligations.
But at a news conference in Accra yesterday (Monday), the National Vice President of the GNCH, Madam Cecilia Senoo, said it was vital for the sexually active youth to have access to condoms as an alternative to abstinence.
That, she said, would help to prevent them from contracting sexually transmitted diseases and reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.
‘The country risks reversing the enviable progress made on the reduction in HIV and AIDS prevalence rate and will not achieve the targeted reduction in the AIDS prevalence rate from 1.37 per cent to 1.16 per cent by 2016,’ she stated.
Quoting figures, Madam Senoo stated that currently the HIV epidemic estimates indicate that 225,478 persons made up of 100,336 males and 125,141 females are living with HIV in Ghana.
Furthermore, she said a report released by the National AIDS Control Programme indicated that the prevalence rate of HIV range was at 1.37 per cent indicating a 1.4 per cent decline from 2.7 per cent in 2005.
The Ghana Health Service Report in 2012, she said, indicated that 750,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 became pregnant while a World Bank survey showed that 10 per cent of maternal deaths in the country were as result of unsafe abortion with 13.8 per cent of pregnant women being teenagers.
Touching on the implication of the shortage of anti-retroviral drugs and HIV test Kits, Madam Senoo said efforts at promoting testing, counselling and the zero mother- to- child transmission of HIV/AIDS would be fruitless.
‘The HIV testing and counselling is the entry point to HIV treatment and it is the key to the national HIV strategic plan which aims at zero new infection, zero mother -to- child HIV transmission and zero new HIV-related deaths,’ she added.
Therefore, she urged the government to procure test kits, condoms and make them available to the civil society organisations for distribution to targeted populations whose lives were at risk.
Also, she appealed to the government, to as a matter of urgency, make funds available to the Ghana Aids Commission so that they could also disburse funds to CSOs engaged in HIV prevention, care and support activities.
By Salomey Appiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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