22 November 2002
FIRST FUND MONEY WILL EXTEND HIV/AIDS AND TB TREATMENT IN GHANA
Ghana to Receive $6.5 million for HIV/AIDS and TB Prevention and Treatment
2,000 Ghanaians to receive HIV/AIDS drugs; 20,000 to receive TB treatment
Geneva, Switzerland - Fund to Fight Malaria signed two Grant Agreements today - the first-ever - to increase access to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services in Ghana.
The $4.2 million HIV/AIDS agreement will build 16 Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) centers, provide Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services to 600 mothers per year, and begin antiretroviral therapy for 2000 people with AIDS. It also will strengthen Home Based Care (HBC) and peer education within rural communities by involving people living with HIV.
The $2.3 million TB grant will allow Ghana to treat an additional 20,000 patients using Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) over the next two years. A quarter of these patients will be treated in private health units, and strengthening the capacity of the private sector to work with the public sector to fight TB is one of the main objectives of the program.
"Public and private partners in Ghana are showing a commitment to a new way of doing business," said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Fund. "The Fund will give them the resources to take effective programs to scale and to ensure comprehensive responses to diseases of poverty."
The agreements were signed by Feachem and the Ghanaian Minister of Health, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie. The Fund requires that a Civil Society Representative from the Country Coordinating Mechanism also sign its agreements. In Ghana, this was Dr. K.S. Jehu-Appiah, Chairman of NGOs in Health.
The Fund's local representative in Ghana is PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which will be working with the Ministry of Health as the principal recipient of funds. Private sector collaboration is one of the hallmarks of the Fund, created independently of the UN and other existing multilateral agencies in January 2002.
"We must work together to fight these diseases," said Chrispus Kiyonga, Chairman of the Fund's Board. "Ghana shows the world that public and private partners can work together both to deliver international assistance from donors and to deliver results on the ground in developing countries."
Forty thousand people die of AIDS in Ghana each year. The scale-up of antiretroviral coverage in Ghana is part of a global effort to expand treatment services in developing countries. The Fund's first grants will purchase enough antiretrovirals to increase their coverage in Africa by six-fold, with grantees accessing both patented and generic versions of the drugs. The Fund requires that its recipients pay the lowest available prices for medicines, which must meet international standards of quality.
The Fund Grant Agreements in Ghana represent an important milestone in the Fund's first year, and occur just days prior to World AIDS Day. An additional HIV/AIDS grant is expected to be signed within the next few weeks in Haiti, as well as TB and malaria agreements in Sri Lanka. The Fund is in negotiation with thirty-seven additional countries that were approved in its first proposal round.