In line with section 9(1a) and 9(2) of the Ghana AIDS Commission Act, 2016 (ACT 938), the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council inaugurated a Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC).
Delivering the Welcome Address at the inauguration, the Hon. Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa who is the Chairman of the Committee stated that the presence of the committee members at the inauguration was a reassurance of their commitment towards the task ahead. He threw some light on the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Global Fast Track Targets which the country has signed unto which is aimed at working towards ending AIDS by the year 2030.
He indicated that the Volta Region had seen both an increase in HIV testing across the region from 49,502 in 2016 to 80,444 in 2017 and a drop in the HIV prevalence from 2.7% to 2.3% in the same period.
He bemoaned the pervasive stigma and discrimination towards people living and affected by HIV and AIDS in the region. He, however, expressed his happiness about the criminalization of stigmatization of people living and affected by HIV.
Dr Letsa expressed the hope that the committee would find innovative ways of complimenting the effort of Government in making funding available through the HIV Fund as stipulated in Act 938.
He concluded by encouraging all Committee members to be dedicated and committed to the objectives of the committee, for he looked forward to working with them all.
Mr Victor Attah Ntumi, a Board Member of the Ghana AIDS Commission who represented the President of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and read the President’s Inaugural Address outlined some innovations in Act 938 which repealed the GAC Act, 2002 (Act 613) in 2016. Among the innovations are the copious provisions to safeguard the rights of persons living with HIV, the establishment of HIV and AIDS fund, promotion of resource mobilization. Other innovations are the reduction of the former 47-member Commission to a 19-member Governing Board, and replacing Regional AIDS Committees (RAC) with a slightly modified membership Regional Committees of the Commission.
He stated the Regional Committee of the Commission was to perform the functions of the Commission in Region to enable the Commission to achieve the 90-90-90-fast track targets by 2020.
He also stated that government was working assiduously to establish the National HIV and AIDS fund to ensure that the national response to HIV and AIDS is self-reliant.
He concluded by declaring the Regional Committee of the Commission duly established.
His Lordship Justice Eric Baah administered the Official Oath and the Oath of Secrecy to swear-in members of the Committee. After administering the oaths, he advised the Committee members to fight for and protect the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS since their rights are protected under the laws of the country as captured in the Ghana AIDS Commission Act, 2016. He further advised that the Committee could call on the Regional Bar Association for legal assistance for people living with HIV and AIDS in the pursuit of protecting their rights.
The Membership of the Committee is as follows:
- Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa — Regional Minister/Chairperson
- Timothy Letsa—Regional Director of Health Service
- Mrs Enyonam Afi Amafuga—Regional Director of Education
- Paul Alossode—Regional Chair, National Association of People Living With HIV, Volta
- Gershon Kwame Osei—Representative of Coalition of NGOs in Health
- Seth Kwesi Mawutor—Regional Chair, Christian Council of Ghana
- Alhaji Alfa Anas Hamidu—Representative of Federation of Muslim and Ahmadiyya Mission
- Togbega Dabra VI—Representative of Regional House of Chiefs
- Mary Naa Asheley Anyomi—Regional Technical Coordinator, GAC Technical Support Unit
Foster Huno, Public Relations Unit