ACCRA, GHANA – The ONE Campaign is supporting the government of Ghana’s efforts to team up with Yale University and IBM in order to virtually eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in the West African nation.
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama announced the formation of the consortium, whose initial objective is to reduce the rate of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV to less than 5% by 2018, in line with a goal set by the World Health Organization. Mahama said his government hopes to go further, aiming for a transmission rate of less than 1% by 2020.
Ghana has an extremely low rate of HIV testing; in 2011, only 5 percent of the adult population was tested for the disease. According to the Health Ministry, HIV testing during pregnancy is often eschewed because of lack of public awareness, limited access to diagnostic tests, and cultural stigma.
President Mahama has publicly committed $100 million to this effort. Through technology, ONE and its partners will enable citizens to track how this money is spent and monitor the progress of Ghana’s fight to eradicate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV.
At a benefit concert marking the launch of the consortium, Nachilala Nkombo, ONE’s Deputy Africa Director, said:
“The ONE campaign is proud to be associated with this effort to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Ghana because the global fight against HIV/AIDS is one of our core priorities. Through programs such as PEPFAR in the US and the Global Fund, we have campaigned relentlessly for the funding that has enabled more than 7.5 million people living in Africa today to have access to lifesaving AIDS medications…
We believe this union of medical and technological expertise, along with high-level political commitment, can save and improve countless lives and serve as a model for tackling mother-to-child transmission of HIV elsewhere.”
Local partners are also participating in the consortium, including the Ghana AIDS Commission, Christian Health Association of Ghana, the National House of Chiefs, and the Rotary Club of Ghana.