The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and partners, including representatives of government, faith based organizations and civil society groups, have concluded a three day retreat in Ganta City, Nimba County to scale-up efforts of ending new HIV infection and keeping people living with HIV alive and healthy by 2018.
A total of 35 representatives from different UN Agencies and partner institutions participated during the retreat from Wednesday to Friday (April 29, 2015 to May 1, 2015). Participants included members of the Joint Team on HIV&AIDS (HIV&AIDS focal points and their Alternates drawn from Co-sponsor Agencies including, UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR, UNFPA, UNESCO and UNODC); UN Cares and Friends of the UN Plus; and representatives of the Gender Technical Working Group and the Joint UN Programme on Gender Based Violence.
Other institutions that were represented included representatives of the National AIDS Commission (NAC), National AIDS Control Program (NACP), key populations, Network of People living with HIV, Youth Organizations, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), the Anti-AIDS Media Network, the Global Fund Secretariat and the Ministries of Gender and Development, Education, Justice, Labour and Youth and Sports, as well as, the Independent National Human Rights Commission and the Liberian National Police.
Giving an overview of the workshop, Mr. Isaac Ahemesah, UNAIDS Rights, Gender, and Community Mobilization Adviser said the retreat was planned to review the United Nations Joint Programme of Support (UNJPS) of 2011-2014 UNJPS for the development of a new UNJPS 2015-2018 consistent with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the UN One Programme and aligned to the Government of Liberia’s National HIV Strategic Plan (NSP) 2015-2020.
In opening remarks, Dr. Betru Woldesemayat, UNAIDS Country Director (UCD) called on the retreat participants to make significant contributions to the development of the new UN Joint Programme of Support to HIV and AIDS in Liberia. He disclosed that UNAIDS together with its partners recently launched “an ambitious treatment target – 90-90-90 initiative.”
“The initiative will ensure that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression. This and other initiatives including “Protect the Goal”; “Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission”; “leaving no one behind”; “ shine a Light” and the new UNAIDS Strategic goal to end AIDS by 2030 among other initiatives needs to be operationalized in Liberia through the implementation of the UNJPS,” Dr. Woldesemayat maintained.
For his part, Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of Liberia’s National AIDS Commission recognizes the UN and partners efforts/assistance towards the Country’s National AIDS response. “The UN helped in the development of our national strategic plan which is our five years plan to help Liberia meet her shared responsibilities of global contributions to stop new HIV infection and AIDS deaths. I believed together as we have come to join efforts with the UN in developing her own plan to support our country’s HIV and AIDS program in line with what we have already put in the NSP, we can be sure of meeting the UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 targets; thereby, raising domestic resources necessary to provide, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV,” Dr. Camanor noted.
Authorities of Nimba County including, Mr. Fong G. Zuagele (superintendent), Mr. Don Cooper (Development Superintendent) and Mr. Ben S. Dokpa (Gata City Mayor) paid a courtesy visit at the end of the three day retreat held in the county.
Meanwhile, the retreat organizers announced that the UNJPS is expected to be approved by the Joint United Nations Team on HIV and AIDS before July 2015 to commence the full implementation of the joint plan.