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Ghana launches online app on HIV

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
 Mr Alexander Abban, a Deputy Minister of Health, (right) interacting with Mrs Angela Trendor-Mbonde, Country Director of USAID. With them are Mr Mark Addo (left) and Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene
Mr Alexander Abban, a Deputy Minister of Health, (right) interacting with Mrs Angela Trendor-Mbonde, Country Director of USAID. With them are Mr Mark Addo (left) and Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene

Ghana yesterday became the third country in the world to launch an online application that seeks to identify, test and know the HIV status of vulnerable groups in the country.

Apart from Ghana, India and Morocco are the other countries using the system that is designed specifically to identify and account for services provided to vulnerable groups, also referred to as key populations (KPs).

KPs are persons or individuals whose behaviour or lifestyles make them prone to HIV. These persons include female sex workers and men who have sex with men.

The initiative, called the Ghana Key Population Unique Identification System (GKPUIS), was designed by Westblue Consulting Limited, one of the IT firms rolling out the national single window system at the country's ports, and would be managed and operated by the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC).

Why GKPUIS

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At the launch of the system in Accra yesterday, the acting Director General of the GAC, Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, explained that GKPUIS was developed to address the significant gaps in the provision of services to vulnerable groups.

In the country’s quest to bridge the gaps, he said a goal was set to ensure that the needs of KPs "are met to improve coverage of their services".

"It is against this background that GAC, with support from stakeholders, recommended the need for unique identification codes to capture and collate essential services offered to female sex workers and men who have sex with men," Mr Atuahene said.

He said Ghana had subscribed to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 aspirational targets to guide the HIV response and monitor progress towards ending the epidemic.

Explaining the tenets of the 90-90-90 targets, Mr Atuahene said it required that 90 per cent of people living with HIV became aware of their status, with 90 per cent of them enrolled onto antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of them reaching a viral suppression state.

He said data generated by the GKPUIS would be used for proper planning by government institutions and private organisations in the healthcare sector.

Mr Atuahene, therefore, commended the management of Westblue Consulting Limited for designing the system and also assisting to develop the country's technology.

To access the system, one would have to visit www.gkpuis.gov.gh.

Westblue

The Chief Executive Officer of Westblue Consulting Limited, Mr Mark Addo, said the technology would be used not only to address personalised healthcare delivery, but to also assist with the secure and confidential management of personal health records for effective programme planning by the GAC.

"Additionally, the introduction of this system will improve efficiency of the commission's operations and assist in the long-term shared vision of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals," he said.

Mr Addo pledged the continued support of Westblue Consulting Limited towards the sustainability of the GKPUIS programme.

Government 

A Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Alexander Abban, said the government was ready to support the new system so that credible data could be gathered for its planned programmes.
 
He commended GAC and the Westblue Consulting Limited for the initiative and urged them to continue their work in ensuring that credible data was gathered for national development.