Back to Homepage

HFFG under the USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project advocates for ART unit for Bamiankor Health Centre

Continuous and easy access to antiretroviral therapy is key to the global response to end AIDS. Bamiankor Health Centre in Nzema East District, Ghana was formally a facility that picked up antiretroviral therapy drugs (ARVs) from Axim Government Hospital for HIV positive clients identified within its territory. The facility became inactive for clients due to funds for nurses’ transportation to Axim Government Hospital every month for drugs pick-up. As a result, the few people on treatment at the facility defaulted because they could not also get money for transportation to go for their drugs at Axim.

Due to these challenges, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) allocated some funds meant to follow-up on defaulters available to facility nurses to pick-up ARVs from Axim Government Hospital, in order to reduce the rate of defaulters in Nzema East District. HFFG staff with the support from USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project also made available extra supply of ARVs to Bamiankor Health Centre from Axim Government Hospital every month to aid newly identified and initiated PLHIV during outreaches.

As a result of this new initiative of drugs pick up to Bamianko Health Centre, all cases identified are initiated the same day due to the supply of drugs from Axim Government Hospital. Highlighting on the aim, clients were also advised to prepare for viral load samples taking which occurs after 6 months of being on medication. The viral load testing is only done at Axim Government Hospital and it is compulsory for all clients to take part to check viral load suppression.

In order to sustain this initiative, HFFG decided to engage facility heads to be able to allocate some funds derived by the hospital to support deliver drugs to other health facilities which may have more PLHIV, but lack drugs for initiation which didn’t work out due to lack of funds.

The effort didn’t end there. HFFG followed up with JSI and Axim ART Centre to facilitate the process of making Bamianko an ART Centre with trained nurses to manage the place. JSI also followed up with the Regional Director of Health Services and the District Director of Health Services for the initiative. Now the dream has become a reality. In this month of April, 2021 Bamianko Health Centre has been declared an ART Centre with trained nurses to manage the place.

All logistics have also been sent to the facility to facilitate the process. Clients under USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project now, other clients and future ones in and around Bamianko ART Centre will have easy access to their medications to prevent defaulters and lost to follow up (LTFU). This in the long way will contribute to effective case management and viral load suppression.

Thanks to HFFG, JSI and USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project.

Experienced Ghanaian social worker and The Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), Mrs. Cecilia Lodonu-Senoo, an experienced Ghanaian social worker has been selected to become a member of the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board (DCNGO) 2021-2023.

The Developing Country NGO Delegation is one of three civil society constituencies on the Global Fund Board and represents the perspectives of NGOs and NGO implementers in over 100 recipient countries.

The Global Fund is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics. Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has disbursed more than US$45.4 billion in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and for programs to strengthen systems for health across more than 155 countries, including Ghana.

The Developing Country NGO delegation aims to contribute to and influence Global Fund policies and practices in an effort to make them continually and appropriately responsive to the needs of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and the NGOs and community based organizations (CBOs) providing services and support to address these diseases.

Mrs. Senoo’s selection was announced in a letter co-signed by Andriy Klepikov, Board Member and Alternate Board Member, Carolyn Gomes.

“On behalf of the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board (DCNGO), we are pleased to invite you to become a member of the delegation for 2021- 2023, following your excellent application and thoughtful interview,” the letter partly read.

Commenting on the selection, Mrs. Senoo said, she is elated to be invited to join the Board. “It is a call to service to our communities, constituencies and countries to ensure better health outcomes for all. This position  will offer me the opportunity to contribute to Global Fund policies and advocate for support to CSO networks, youth networks, to actively participate in Global Fund grant implementation. It is time to work together to achieve the Global targets for HIV, TB and malaria.”, Mrs Senoo added.

Mrs Cecilia Senoo is the first woman to chair the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) of the Global Fund in Ghana. In this capacity, Mrs Senoo led the HIV, Malaria and TB response in Ghana with the support of the CCM Secretariat.

Mrs. Cecilia Senoo is skilled in national and international advocacy, gender programming and has over 25 years expertise in NGO management, Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) strategies and interventions, psychosocial counselling and HIV and AIDS programming.

The Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations is also a Board Member of the Ghana Population Council and a founding member of the Non-State Actors on Health and Development in Ghana.

She is a Technical Advisor to the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA Ghana), an organization that has given hope to hundreds of Persons Living with HIV in Ghana.

Compiled By:

Effah Attah-Badu (HFFG)

Every year, on 1st December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. On this day, the world unites to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to the pandemic. The celebration also brings focus on the country/world interventions to end HIV. This year is another opportunity to demonstrate solidarity and take stock of what has been achieved so far in ensuring that HIV does not continue to erode gains made by countries at various fronts of their economies and the building of their human capital, realizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of HIV services, treatment and care putting more people at risk. The theme for this year is Global solidarity, shared responsibility.

According to UNAIDS, as at 2019, adults and children living with HIV in Ghana were estimated to be 342.307. Females living with HIV in 2019 was also estimated to be 219.986, representing 64% of PLHIV. The statistics continue to show a gendered infection in Ghana at the detriment of women and girls.  Numerous efforts: investments of resources, targeted interventions, as well as research and development have led to immense progress in prevention, treatment and care to defeat HIV. The very recent study results showing the effectiveness of long-acting injectable medicines (cabotegravir) for preventing HIV among women; the positive opinion on the effectiveness of the Dapivirine vaginal ring to reduce the risk of HIV infection for women add to the progress made towards defeating the disease. According to UNAIDS, globally, increased access to HIV treatment has averted around 12.1 million AIDS-related deaths since 2010. This victory calls for celebration as it has led to significant reduction of HIV transmission and related deaths.  The progress though remarkable, has been unequal, notably in expanding access to antiretroviral therapy.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting HIV prevention, treatment and care services as well as reversing gains made to defeat the disease as governments divert greater health resources into fighting COVID-19. According to UNAIDS, a six-month complete disruption in HIV treatment could cause more than 500,000 additional deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over the next year (2020–2021), bringing the region back to the 2008 HIV mortality levels.

Adolescent girls and young women continue to face unacceptably high risks of HIV infection in high-burden countries as the case is in Ghana.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been exacerbated by lock downs and prolonged periods of being out of school, which has led to early marriage, unplanned pregnancies, gender based violence and reduced enrolment of girls in school, increasing their vulnerability.

More than ever, there is need for urgent and relentless efforts by governments, donors, the private sector, civil society and communities to ensure continued focus on HIV interventions. This will help sustain efforts to defeat HIV and to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on HIV to avert new infections and deaths.

Agile Leadership and engagement of communities are necessary for a successful HIV response. Community involvement and solidarity have been paramount in providing people affected by HIV with information, services, social protection and hope. There is need for this kind of solidarity by all stakeholders to defeat HIV.

Putting people at the center of the HIV and COVID-19 response and grounding the efforts in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the two diseases. Realizing the extreme vulnerability of young women and girls, there is need to scale up prevention programmes for adolescent girls and young women for prevention, care and treatment services. There is the need for greater commitment to health through increased allocation of domestic and international resources for health and the efficient allocation and use of the resources. This will help defeat HIV and COVID-19 and prevent further loss of gains towards the critical fight against HIV. Efforts to defeat the two diseases must guarantee that everyone, everywhere, has access to healthcare they need whenever they need it. No one should be left behind because healthcare is a human right whose access should not at all depend on a person’s financial prowess.

The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call, an opportunity to invest better, and together, for desired health outcomes. Largely, the end of HIV as a public health threat and the achievement of sustainable development goal 3 on the health and wellbeing for all is dependent on how well COVID-19 is tackled.

By Cecilia Senoo

Executive Director, Hope for Future Generations and Focal Person-GFAN-Africa, Ghana.