Ghana’s three-pronged revised 2012 Policies on HIV and AIDS is key to achieving the outcomes envisaged by the 2011-2015 National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV and AIDS.
The NSP seeks to reduce the health, social and economic related morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.
“Consequently, a reduction in these will augur well for the development of our communities and our country” Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission stated in an address delivered at a dissemination session of the revised policies in Ho.
Dr El-adas said the revised policies must be well disseminated and implemented to attain the expected results.
They are the National HIV and AIDS and STI Policy formulated in 2001, revised in 2004 and again in 2012, the National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy developed in 2005 and the National Community Home-Based Care Policy and Guidelines which did not exist previously.
Dr El-Adas said the revised “policies have a legal backing and provide clear guidelines to ensure that any environmental challenges that hamper the effective implementation of our national response is addressed.”
She said the revisions were necessitated by the emergence of “new knowledge and rapid scientific changes that have occurred globally and in the national HIV response over recent years.”
Dr El-Adas said “some issues” in the policies “are not conclusive and would require further engagement.”
The revised National HIV and AIDS, STI Policy covered 13 thematic areas such as human rights, legal and ethical issues, treatment care and support, prevention of HIV and STI infections, mitigation of social and economic effects of HIV and AIDS, health systems strengthening and community systems strengthening.
The rest were public sector policy, roles and responsibilities, private sector policies, roles and responsibilities, national HIV and AIDS, STI workplace policy, research, monitoring and evaluation and funding mechanisms.
On funding mechanisms the Policy recommended the establishment of a HIV Fund for HIV programmes to be funded locally by the government and other local sources including the private sector and philanthropists.
It said the country’s development partners “will be less inclined to provide funding for the national HIV and AIDS response,” as the country attained lower middle-income status.
The scope of the National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy covers all workers working under all forms or arrangements, and at all workplaces.
It includes persons in any employment or occupation, those in training, including interns and apprentices, volunteers, jobseekers and job applicants and laid-off and suspended workers.
It embraces all sectors of economic activity be it in the private, public, formal and informal economies including armed forces and uniformed services.
In a preface to the National HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy President John Mahama said “I expect all employers to actively implement the comprehensive Workplace HIV and AIDS Policy which fully respects the fundamental Human Rights of workers, their families and communities within which they operate.”
Dr Joseph Amuzu, Director, Policy and Planning, GAC who led the session urged the participants to disseminate the information as widely as possible among the public.