Mr. Felix Berewono, HIV Coordinator at the Upper West Regional Health Directorate, said some men from the Region were preventing their wives from taking the HIV test when they visited the health facility during pregnancy.
He said when some pregnant women came for antenatal at the hospital and were referred for blood testing which included the HIV test, they often beg for permission to seek the consent of their husbands before doing so.
The Regional HIV Coordinator alleged that many of the women when they sought the permission of their husbands, they ended up receiving threats of divorce if they dared to take the test.
Mr. Berewono made this known during Ghana AIDS Commission’s (GAC) stakeholder sensitization meeting in Wa.
He explained that it was rather very advantageous for the pregnant women to take the test to know their health status so that an infectious person could take steps to prevent the baby in the womb from getting infected.
He said for that reason, the involvement of men in the HIV campaign was key and encourage men to develop interest and allow their wives to undergo testing for HIV, as well as themselves.
The HIV Coordinator said key objectives of the Commission in the Region was to help to reduce new HIV infections, morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS, and increase survival of adults and children with HIV known to be on treatment for 12 months after initiation of Antiretroviral Treatment.
The Key strategies listed included; facilitative supervision; organised Tuberculosis and HIV collaborative activities such as meetings, monitoring and training as well as review meetings and capacity building on a number of areas.
Mr. Berewono said the programme focused areas included prevention of new infections through Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, mitigation of the social and economic effects of HIV and AIDS; reduction of stigma and discrimination, access to basic needs for HIV and HIV treatment, care and support.
He identified inadequate number of trained service providers for HIV and Tuberculosis services leading to task shifting and task sharing in efforts to maintain service coverage; few treatment, care and support centres; lack of doctors to support in HIV/AIDS care and logistical constraints as major limitations of the programme.
Mr. Welbeck Amoani Twum, GAC Technical Coordinator of Brong Ahafo Region, said during the monitoring of the Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region it was observed that Focal Persons (FPs) were inexperienced, District AIDS Committees (DACs) were dormant and that many District Chief Executives (DCEs) lacked the idea on the role of the Assemblies in HIV intervention.
He said inadequate funding for rolling out of activities, lack of capacity of FPs and DAC members on HIV response issues, lack of collaboration among stakeholders resulting in ineffective DACs and lack of adequate information on community based organisations in the various districts as some of the challenges facing the commission.
Mr. Twum recommended training for FPs, regular monitoring to ensure prudent use of the 0.5 percent portion of the District Assembly Common Funds (DACF) for HIV interventions, spearheading the reactivation of the DACs by FPs and the collaboration of DACs with health sector and other stakeholders in drawing HIV plans for decentralised response.
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