The Ghana AIDS Commission has created a strategic framework that aims to mobilize and expand the response to HIV/AIDS in the country, Sylvia Anie-Akwetey -- director of policy planning, research, monitoring and evaluation at GAC -- announced Tuesday at the media launch of the second National HIV and AIDS Research Conference in Accra, Ghana, the Statesman reports (Arries-Tagoe, Statesman, 2/13).
According to Anie-Akwetey, the strategic framework aims to reduce the number of new HIV cases among vulnerable groups and the general population, as well as to promote healthy lifestyles in the area of sexual and reproductive health (GNA/Accra Daily Mail, 2/13). The strategic response will focus on improved prevention, comprehensive treatment, care and support, and lessening the effects of the disease on people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. She said that the "expanded national response ... has been vigorously pursued through the provision of comprehensive services, including promotion of safer-sex practices, provision of safe blood and blood products, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission."
Under the plan, treatment, care and support services have been bolstered. In addition, highly active antiretroviral therapy programs have been expanded from two pilot sites to 46 sites in all ten regional hospitals, as well as in private health facilities. According to the Statesman, the services have benefited about 8,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, including children.
The conference -- which is scheduled for March 3-5 in Accra -- will bring together researchers, policymakers, program managers, development partners and other advocates. Participants will review the status of Ghana's epidemic and the national response, as well as develop research priorities, the Statesman reports. Anie-Akwetey said the conference will have four main tracks: social sciences, epidemiology and basic science, clinical practice and interventions, and best practices (Statesman, 2/13). She added that the conference is in accordance with the goals of the national strategic framework for 2006 to 2010.
Sakyi Awuku Amoa, director-general of GAC, said that some traditional healers who have claimed to have a cure for HIV/AIDS will be part of the conference. He added that Ghana's Ministry of Health
will hold a training session specifically on traditional medicine immediately following the conference (GNA/Accra Daily Mail
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