• By The Financial District

Community Caregivers And Apple Spread Hope In Ghana Amid Two Pandemics

At St. Martin de Porres Hospital on the outskirts of Accra in Ghana, Joseph is beginning a very important journey. The 27-year-old is picking up a supply of lifesaving antiretroviral therapy medication (ART) good for two months, but the drugs are not for him, even though he has taken them daily since he was diagnosed with HIV at age 11.

Photo Insert: Apple is marking 15 years of partnership and nearly $270 million raised through its (PRODUCT)RED campaign to help stop the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, including in Ghana.

Joseph is part of a program called Model of Hope, which is run by the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), and enlists the help of people living with HIV to assist others who have tested positive for the virus. CHAG is one of the many community-based organizations and healthcare providers in Ghana supported by the Global Fund.

This year, Apple is marking 15 years of partnership and nearly $270 million raised through its (PRODUCT)RED campaign to support the Global Fund’s efforts to stop the spread of AIDS across sub-Saharan Africa.

COVID-19 has made this mission even more critical. To address the dual challenges, last year the Global Fund launched its COVID-19 Response to help to alleviate the impact of this second pandemic on communities already grappling with HIV and AIDS.

Apple was one of the first companies to shift attention and resources to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 efforts and will continue redirecting half of the eligible proceeds from (PRODUCT)RED purchases to the COVID-19 Response through the end of 2022, with the other half going directly to the fight to end AIDS.

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Joseph is one of 13.8 million people who has access to ART as a result of Apple’s contributions to the Global Fund’s efforts in Africa, and he sees the effect COVID-19 is having on those he counsels through the Model of Hope program.

“When it’s time for them to come in to get their medication, sometimes they don’t because of COVID,” says Joseph. “Because they are afraid — they think, ‘When you come to the hospital, you get COVID,’ so many do not come at all.”

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For immunocompromised individuals, like those with HIV who must take ART every day, missing those appointments puts them in grave danger — but so does exposure to COVID-19. Model of Hope volunteer workers like Joseph ensure that many patients receive medication and counseling, even when they are not willing or able to travel.

“When COVID struck, we had a lot of businesses shut down and we had a lot of movement restricted,” says Kafui Kornu, CHAG’s senior communications officer. “So the Model of Hope system helped in that regard, and they’ve been doing very well identifying [those in] need and delivering their drugs to them. When they go, they identify that it’s not just that a person doesn’t want to come, but there’s actually some other problem that needs to be solved to enable them to get access to the drug.”

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