President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday said government was determined to support local pharmaceutical companies to manufacture anti-retroviral drugs for persons living with HIV and AIDS.
He said the development of the country’s pharmaceutical industry, the production of drugs, particularly anti-retrovirals, was a key commitment of his government, and a part of a wider programme for the industrial growth of the country.
“We are going to make a determined effort to try and reverse the structure of the economy and we have chosen the pharmaceutical industry as a key point of that programme,” President Akufo-Addo disclosed when the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Michael Sidibe, called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
The President said it was unacceptable that three out of four people living with HIV and AIDS in the ECOWAS region had no access to treatment, stating that it was important that Ghana got UNAID’s endorsement to enable local pharmaceuticals in the region to manufacture anti-retroviral drugs to reverse that statistics.
“Whatever is required to be done to improve those statistics, it is incumbent on us to do it because these are no statistics that should be allowed to fester, there is a requirement that we do something about it and change these facts.”, he told Mr Sidibe
President Akufo-Addo pledged government’s commitment to support the work of the UNAIDS, adding that Ghana would leverage its leadership role in ECOWAS and the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board to play a frontline role and ensure issues about the disease was taken seriously.
He also expressed the government’s commitment to support and increase the capacity of the Ghana AIDS Commission to make it play a lead role in the fight against the deadly disease.
President Akufo-Addo said the collaboration between the UNAIDS and regional as well as the continental bodies should be strengthened because it was critical to tackling the scorch of HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases.
He stressed the need for decisions taken at regional and continental levels on the HIV and AIDS disease to reflect “on what is happening on the ground so that our people can feel the benefit.”
Mr. Sidibe said the UNAIDS would be adopting a new model to comprehensively address the HIV/AIDS and its related disease, urging Ghana to support the move.
He commended the government’s commitment to produce the anti-retroviral drugs and stressed the need for countries in the ECOWAS region to come together to consider the possibility of producing the drugs locally.