The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has encouraged health facilities to consider the health of HIV-positive individuals and reduce out-of-pocket costs for HIV services.
This is due to the fact that a large number of individuals are compelled to leave therapy as a result of the practice.
The Ghana AIDS Commission’s Director General, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, claimed that the intervention was now necessary because, just in 2021, more than 32% of HIV-positive individuals discontinued their medication due to financial difficulties.
At the presentation and distribution of the National AIDS Spending Assessment (NASA) report for 2019, 2020, and 2021, Dr. Atuahene said the following.
The National AIDS Strategy and Tracking (NASAT) provides information on program spending, actual payments, and cash flow.
It outlines the money flow and expenditures for HIV and AIDS-related health and non-health activities for the time period and identifies and remedies budget deficiencies.
He claims that over the past three years, out-of-pocket expenses for PLHIV and households have increased, going from around 22 million dollars in 2019 to over 28 million dollars in 2020 and roughly 32 million dollars in 2021.
According to the Director General, these “catastrophic expenditures” had an effect on households, PLHIV, persons living with HIV, and the number of HIV-related mortality across the country.
He highlighted that the situation is “extremely worrying” because the government’s policy is that all HIV services, including testing, treatment, and case management, should be provided without charge.
HIV patients forced to discontinue treatment due to out-of-pocket expenses
The Director General asserted that PLHIVs were compelled to pay due to issues with the NHIS budget’s sluggish transfers to service providers and other related issues, such as laboratory services.
Given this, the Director General begged the government, especially the Ministry of Finance, to make sure that NHIS received its releases on time and in the right quantity.
In addition, he asserted that situations in which PLHIV quit their treatment clearly illustrated the widening gaps in access to HIV care and other health services in general.
Intriguingly, according to Dr. Atuahene, the situation must be remedied in a country dedicated to achieving universal health care since it undermines the objectives and efforts to end HIV and AIDS by the year 2030 as well as pledges to leave no one behind.
He said that in order to achieve these goals, it was necessary for the government and the people to work together, and for that to happen, there should be no barriers to accessing healthcare services, especially for individuals who have HIV.