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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ghana Takes Big Step in Health with New Grants

ACCRA, Ghana – In a ceremony hosted by the president of Ghana, the Government of Ghana and the Global Fund today (August 18th, 2015) strengthened their partnership by signing new grants for US$248 million to substantially increase the number of people receiving prevention, treatment and care for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many sources and partners, represented today at a signing event held at the presidential palace by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, the UK Department for International Development, France, Germany, Japan, the European Union, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Korea, UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO, among others.

The seven new grants will build resilient and sustainable systems for health, fund HIV treatment for an additional 56,736 peopleincrease malaria treatment coverage for children under five and significantly expand diagnosis and treatment for TB.

“Today's signing is further evidence of our joint commitment to the same cause: reducing the burden of malaria, HIV and tuberculosis in Ghana," said the president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama.
Underlying strong country ownership and commitment for sustainability, Ghana’s domestic financing will cover costs of life-saving antiretroviral drugs to treat 22,000 current patients and 11,000 new patients.
Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, praised the progress made in Ghana, which was the first country to sign a Global Fund grant in late 2002. Under the Global Fund’s funding model, Ghana has been allocated a total of US$ 300 million for the 2015-2017 cycle, including US$ 24 million for malaria in “incentive funding”, a reserve designed to reward high-impact and well-performing programs.

“Ghana is an example of what partnership and joint responsibility can do to defeat these diseases,” Dr. Dybul said. “Attaining universal access to prevention, treatment and care for people affected by these diseases is no longer the dream it was when we started our partnership back in 2002. By working together we can achieve even greater things.”

With the support of the Global Fund partnership, Ghana has made significant improvements in global health, including a 43 percent decrease of new HIV infections since 2010.
President Mahama said new HIV infections among children declined by 51 percent from 2009 to 2014, and coverage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission coverage has increased to 81 percent from 32 percent. More than 19 million mosquito nets have been distributed, over 76,000 new tuberculosis cases have been detected and treated, and 88,000 Ghanaians are on antiretroviral therapy.
Ghana also announced it will host a regional distribution center for health commodities, demonstrating Ghana's leading role in Africa.

Japan’s ambassador to Ghana, Kaoru Yoshimura, said the grants signed today were very important projects for Ghana and for the international community.

“Japan will host the G-7 next year and I believe the health sector will be one of the most important focus areas that global leaders will discuss. Japan will continuously contribute to improve global health. This is why Japan decided to host the Global Fund’s Replenishment Preparatory Meeting in December 2015 under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," Yoshimura said.

The chairman of the Country Coordinating Mechanism Collins Agyarko-Nti added: “Global Fund investments in Ghana over the past 12 years have not only contributed to a significant improvement in the health of the Ghanaian people, but also to the strengthening of our health systems. The support for medical procurement and supply chain systems has resulted in the continuous availability of essential medicines and health products in all regions.”

Here are some of the key targets of today’s grants:
  • Secure antiretroviral medication for 140,448 people by 2017.
  • Extend HIV prevention services to reach key affected populations including 65 percent of female sex workers, 88 percent of men who have sex with men, and 80 percent of prison inmates; as well as reaching 20 percent of the general population with testing services annually.
  • Increase antiretroviral coverage for an additional 32,246 pregnant women by 2017, up from 8,299 in 2014.
  • Support Ghana to attain nearly 80 percent of malaria treatment coverage for children under five by 2017 and increase household use of mosquito nets to nearly 70 percent by 2017, up from less than 50 percent in 2014.
  • Intensify TB case notification rates, nearly doubling the notification rate from 60 per 100,000 in 2013 to 103 per 100,000 by 2017, reach 100 percent treatment coverage for identified drug-resistant TB patients on second-line treatment from 42 percent in 2013, and better integrate TB and HIV treatment and prevention in community health clinics.
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