A delegation from Young Health Advocates Ghana (YHAG), a national network of young people working to prevent HIV among young Ghanaians under the auspices of Hope for Future Generations on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, paid a courtesy call on the Presidential Advisor on HIV in Ghana, Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi.
The delegation led by the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations, Mrs. Cecilia Senoo and the National President for YHAG Ms. Priscilla Addo was to formally introduce the work of YHAG to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi and to bring to her notice some challenges facing young people living with HIV in Ghana.
Ms. Priscilla Addo, the National President of YHAG presented the organisation’s profile to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi and solicited her support for young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) in Ghana to be included in the formulation of national policies and strategic plans that affect them. According to Ms. Addo, granting YPLHIV such platforms will ensure their challenges are addressed. She added that there are over twenty-one thousand YPLHIV currently in Ghana facing many challenges including stigma which leads to nondisclosure of status; battling with side effects from ARVs, discrimination, persistent shortage of ARVs in Ghana which results in one defaulting treatment and eventually building drug resistance. “Despite these challenges, the country has no national intervention focusing on YPLHIV’’, she said.
The Presidential Advisor on HIV, Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu Gyamfi expressed her surprise towards the rise in HIV cases among young people in Ghana. She indicated that the current prevalence of HIV among the youth may have generated from the fact that national interventions on HIV since 1986 when the first HIV case arrived in Ghana have not paid exclusive attention to children who were born after that year. She stated that the high cases of HIV among the youth is an “emergency” that needs to be addressed and promised to bring this to the attention of the President of Ghana and the First Lady.
Dr. Adu-Gyamfi was however gratified to see that such a well organised network of young advocates are leading the cause to prevent HIV among Ghanaian youths and promised her full support for YHAG in addressing the challenges facing YPLHIV in Ghana particularly on the issue of ARV shortages. She encouraged the Young Health Advocates to continue to speak out and make their voices heard. “You are a force to reckon with”, she added.
Adding her voice, the Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations, Mrs. Cecilia Senoo, appealed to Dr. Adu-Gyamfi to support their call to the Ministry of Finance to provide a perpetual approval of tax waivers on consignments of ARVs that are shipped into the country. According to her, the late approval of the tax waivers is the leading cause of ARV shortages in the country.
Emmanuella Kwamee (HFFG)