In line with continuous comprehensive service delivery to persons living with HIV and TB, the Ghana Health Service organized a 2 day joint annual HIV/TB performance review meeting on 17-18th January 2023 to review activities that are of relevance to HIV and TB prevention and control in Ghana.
The focus of the review meeting was to discuss accelerating the implementation of sample referral system as related to point of care testing for viral load and EID as well as sputum sample transport testing.
In a message from partners, Dr Francis Kasolo, WHO country representative commended Ghana Health Service for showing great resilience in the face of enormous health challenges in the year 2022. He said the year under review was struck with negative impact of COVID 19, compounded by new outbreak of Marburg, vaccine derived polio virus and monkey pox. However, this did not stop the NACP from providing ART services to over 200,000 clients out of a target of about 300,000. The NTP was able to procure 21 of the 16 module xpert machines for testing of TB and COVID 19 and 23 digital xray machines for screening. He admonished participants to provide a clear road map at the end of the meeting to address the TB low case detection and address the bottlenecks preventing the NACP achieving the 95-95-95 target and reducing mother to child transmission as they prepare to write for NFM IV funding.
In his Keynote address, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, said in the year under review, Regional Directors provided the needed direction and took bold initiative to screen and detect more of TB and HIV to bridge the TB/HIV implementation Gap in the country. He however bemoaned the teething challenges with regards to the financing mechanism for the implementation of the regional sample transport system that persist in some regions. He reiterated that Regional Directors have the ultimate responsibility in each region and urged Programme Managers and the Director of Public Health to respect that line of command.
He expressed concern over the rate of absorption when it comes to funds under procurement. The unstable currency makes it difficult to procure and increase burning rate as they keep reviewing same contract budget for a particular procurement every now and then with the unstable economic situation. He also charged Regional Directors to ensure funds sent for sputum sample transport and viral load which has been stalled at the regional level is disbursed and accounted for speedily by districts to improve absorption so that more funds can be released. He advised that the meeting should be used to review the sample transport financing mechanisms
As the country is in the last year of NFM III implementation cycle and is preparing for NFM IV the Director-General used the opportunity to expressed his gratitude to all development partners for the Technical and financial support, to the Civil society for their advocacy role to the Service and the gallant health workers for their hard work to improve HIV/TB indicators.
In his Observations, the Director of Public Health, Dr Asiedu Bekoe expressed his satisfaction with the political commitment of all those who matter to resolve Public Health Issues in the country despite the financial challenges. He impressed on regions to assess their performance vis-a-vis all funds being sent to the regions and plan innovations to screen and transport samples which must be regional based and regional specific to achieve results and improve performance.
SOURCE: PR UNIT