The Ghana-West Africa Program to Combat AIDS and STI (WAPCAS) commenced operations in Ghana in 1996 with support from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to implement an STI/HIV intervention program, for Most-At-Risk Populations (MARPS) now Key Populations (KP), in nine West African countries, which included Mali, Niger, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. Ghana was the only Anglophone country.
The implementation of this project was made possible through the effective collaboration with the Ghana Health Service. WAPCAS was registered as a local NGO in Ghana after the 10 year CIDA support in 2006. We are legally registered with the Registrar General’s Department and the Department of Social Welfare.
The goal of WAPCAS is to control and reduce new HIV infections among KP as well as the transmission of the infections to the general population through the provision of preventive and curative services using peer-to-peer education to promote the 10 key behaviours which have been accepted in Ghana for KP programming. These are;
- Use condom consistently and correctly
- Use non-oil-based lubricants
- Get tested and know your HIV status
- Disclose your HIV status to your regular partners
- Promptly seek appropriate and effective treatment for STIs, HIV/AIDS and OI
- Adhere to treatment (STIs, HIV/AIDS and OI)
- Reduce number of multiple and concurrent sexual partners
- Eat healthy
- Protect against other infectious diseases such as TB, Malaria and diarrhea
- Actively participate in program design and implementation
The 18 continuous years of KP programming has been made possible through the financial and technical support from several partners such as GAC, USAID, Global Fund, GIZ, DANIDA, AJWS, MLGRDE and GHS for intervention periods between 2-10years. Through these support, we were able to initiate and implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS intervention programme for KP in Ghana. We also created and supported a network of 21-KP friendly STI clinics that are currently being used by the country to offer STI and HIV services. In line with our vision, we have built and supported several other NGOs technically and financially in developing and implementing KP intervention programs. WAPCAS also facilitated and supported the formation of the first KP Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Kumasi and Ashaiman, Ghana.
WAPCAS is on record to have piloted an HIV night club intervention for KP in Accra, Ghana. Currently, we are implementing the GFATM project (through GAC), USAID/Ghana SHARPER and SHAPS projects and WAPCAS/GAC KP Empowerment program. WAPCAS is reaching about 35,000 KPs in these projects which is being implemented by 6 national coordinators, 35 field officers, 253 peer educators and trained Ghana Health Service support nurses. These projects are coordinated from the head office by a team of technical and financial experts. WAPCAS currently has its head office at Adabraka in Accra with 28 satellite offices across the country.