GAC Launches Strategic Plan for Human Rights-Related Barriers to HIV and TB Services
The Ghana AIDS Commission and partners have launched the Strategic Plan for the response to Human Rights-related Barriers to HIV and TB Services (2020-2024). At the virtual launch of the document, Presidential Advisor on HIV and AIDS Ambassador Dr. Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi noted that the Strategic Plan was a direct response to the letter and spirit of GAC Act 2016, Act 938 and also consistent with the current HIV and AIDS Policy and global best practices. Dr. Blay Adu-Gyamfi expressed the expectation that the plan would be implemented to realise the aspirations of universal access to services, with no one being left behind in the provision of HIV and TB services.
Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission, Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene said the goal of the strategic plan, which was drafted with wide key stakeholder participation and inputs, is to make available quality HIV and TB services for everyone in a non-discriminatory manner, while giving respect for personal dignity and ensuring privacy and confidentiality. He stated that the plan has six strategic objectives which are to:
• Coordinate human rights interventions and advocate for reformation of laws, regulations, and policies relevant to HIV, TB and human rights-related barriers to care services.
• Eliminate all forms of stigma and discrimination targeted at PLHIV, people affected by TB, and other key and vulnerable groups
• Promote access to justice, HIV and TB-related legal services and human rights interventions, and facilitate TB and HIV legal literacy
• Remove gender-based barriers to human rights and healthcare service interventions, and eliminate TB and HIV-related gender discrimination and violence against women and adolescent girls
• Build capacity of healthcare workers and managers on HIV and TB-related stigma, discrimination and human rights barriers that affect PLHIV, people affected by TB, and other key and vulnerable groups
• Reduce stigma and discrimination relating to practices and activities in religious, faith-based and traditional settings in respect of PLHIV, people affected by TB and other key and vulnerable groups
UNAIDS Country Director Ms. Angela Trenton-Mbonde in her statement acknowledged the quality of the strategic plan which, could be a model for other countries. She said despite the progress Ghana has made in establishing the right to health for its people, there were several barriers that continued to limit access to HIV and TB prevention, care and treatment services. Some of the barriers are: Stigma, discrimination and social exclusion faced by people living with HIV and key and vulnerable populations, punitive laws, weak policies or sometimes very good policies not consistently implemented, harmful cultural practices, gender inequality and gender-based violence, economic and social inequality, and inadequate legal support. Ms. Trenton-Mbonde affirmed the continued support of UNAIDS and the entire UN system to removing these barriers.
Dr. Isaac Lartey Annan Director of the Human Rights Department at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, on behalf of its Commissioner, said CHRAJ will comply with the objectives set out in the plan. He pointed out that CHRAJ often deals with cases associated with stigma and discrimination related to HIV and TB services. Dr. Annan added that the third strategic objective of access to justice and HIV and TB related legal services, is an institutional responsibility of CHRAJ. He called for heightened advocacy on legal literacy among the key justice sector players such as the judiciary and police and also for the Ghana Health Service.
The Interim Chairman of the Network of Associations of Persons living with HIV (NAP+) Management Committee, Rev. Jacob Asare called for strengthened collaboration and partnership at the local, regional and national levels to advance human rights.
The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...find out more