WHO Announces Plan To Provide Treatment for 29,000 HIV-Positive People in Ghana
The World Health Organization on Thursday announced a plan to provide antiretroviral drugs to about half of the HIV-positive people in Ghana by the end of 2005, Reuters reports. The program is part of WHO's 3 by 5 Initiative, which aims to treat three million people with antiretroviral drugs by 2005, according to WHO Ghana Program Director Napoleon Graham. Gahnaian Health Minister Kwaku Afriyie said he hopes that the program will help fight misinformation and stigma, which he said have hampered the existing government treatment program (Reuters, 5/27). Ghana in January began providing antiretroviral treatment to some HIV-positive people living in the country through a program partially subsidized by a $15 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The grant also has helped to provide HIV/AIDS counseling and testing and refurbish the country's hospital and laboratory facilities. The grant covers treatment for 2,000 people a year, and the government is responsible for the remaining 4,000 patients, according to Nii Akwei Addo, AIDS program director for the country's Ministry of Health. Of the 19 million people in Ghana, 3.4% are HIV-positive and 200 people become infected each day (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/26). Although the Global Fund-sponsored program aimed to treat 6,000 patients over two years, only 1,000 people are currently being treated. Graham said that the WHO plan will scale up the existing treatment programs to provide drugs for 29,000 people (Reuters, 5/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.