The District Director for Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Zabzugu district, Mahama Emmanuel Ewutogma has disclosed that there has been increase in the number of HIV cases in the area.
The director said this when he was speaking to the media during an event to inaugurate the newly built health facility by the Member of Parliament for the area,
According to him, malaria tops the table in the monthly report by the Ghana Health Service, but, HIV, hypertitise and other disease are on the rise.
He described the situation as “frightening”, adding that his office has run short of vaccines to deal with rabies.
“Here, malaria tops. Even though we are putting a lot of interventions. But, the environment of the people is supporting the growth of the disease. Occasionally, we get cases like hypertitise, HIV, diarrhea and others. These are the real cases. We are beginning to see a number of HIV cases, which is frightening”, he said.
“Not only that, we see a number of bad cases such as rabies. The last time we appealed to MP, he got us the vaccines, but they are not enough”, the director added.
According to a report by Ghana Medical Journal (GMJ) in March 2019, HIV prevalence in the general population is 1.6% with regional variation – highest prevalence in Eastern (2.8%), Western (2.7%), and Greater Accra (2.5%) regions, and lowest in the three northern regions (1%).
The report also indicated that there has been a reduction in new HIV infections by 57% between 2000 and 2015 and of AIDS-related deaths by 33% in the same period, as well as the almost doubling of HIV testing among women since 2008.
Ghana included the “treat all” policy in its 2016–2020 National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan.
Adoption of “treat all” requires strengthening the country’s health systems to link and track HIV positive clients so they can be immediately put on treatment.
However, there is paucity of accurate data on the HIV care cascade i.e. numbers of people tested for HIV, number of people tested positive, number of HIV positive people started on treatment, number of people virally suppressed and number of people who continued care.
Hence, the estimates of treatment needs are likely under or over-quantified.
Results released by the Ghana National AIDS Control Program, show that for the 100,665 persons on treatment, there are no accurate data on retention rates and number of persons who have attained viral suppression i.e. viral load less than 1000 copies/ml.
Although Ghana has viral load testing machines in 9 of the 10 geographical regions, viral load coverage remains low (10–14%).