Parliament passes Ghana AIDS Commission Bill


Parliament on October 17, 2016 passed the Ghana AIDS Commission Bill, 2015 into an Act to give legal backing for the establishment of the Ghana AIDS Commission and the National HIV and AIDS Fund.

The Act also provides anti-stigma provisions to promote and protect the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Act reduces the number of the Governing Board of the commission from 47 to 17 to make it more efficient and less costly to run. Again, the ministers on the board have been reduced from 15 to three.

Per the Act, the President remains the chairperson of the Board to ensure that HIV continues to be an area of high priority for the government. The Director-General is still the chief executive officer of the commission.

Ghana’s HIV prevalence rate continues to decline as it currently stands at 1.37, with women making 57 per cent and 43 per cent made up of men.

AIDS Fund

The Act seeks to mobilise funding to meet the changing circumstances and expansion of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes.

It also indicates that the focus for resource mobilisation should be on local resources from within the country before external sources are considered.

The sources of money for the Fund include money approved by Parliament for the Fund, grants, donations, gifts, other voluntary contributions and returns on investment of funds by the commission.

There would also be money that the Minister of Finance may determine with approval of Parliament and other money or property that may become lawfully payable and vested in the Board for the Fund.

STIGMATISATION

The Act further makes provisions to reduce the high level of stigmatisation and discrimination faced by persons living with HIV/AIDS.

The provisions are also to ameliorate the socio-economic consequences of the epidemic on individuals living with the virus and society as a whole.

The Act draws from the current National HIV, AIDS and STI Policy, as well as civil society proposals for an HIV and AIDS Control Law.

Source: Daily Graphic

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