New York, Liberians from civil society organizations, including the Network of people living with HIV (LIBNEP+) and its associations and representatives of various UN agencies and the government of Liberia have validated 2016
Liberia Global AID Progress Report and provided inputs into the Zero Draft HIV and AIDS Political Declaration.
The validation conference was held at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia on May 3, 2016. The conference which brought together over 40 institutional representatives was organized by the National AIDS Commission (NAC) of Liberia in collaboration with the National AIDS and/STIs Control Program (NACP) of the Ministry of Health of Liberia with support from the United Nations joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
Making a PowerPoint on Liberia’s 2011-2015 progress, Mr. Murphy Kiazolu of NACP said tremendous efforts have been made in response to HIV and AIDS in Liberia. “Since the diagnosis of the first case of HIV in Liberia, the Government of Liberia has remained committed to ensuring that this disease remains controllable. However, like most part of sub-Saharan Africa, the HIV is slowly creeping into the society and claiming the lives of over thousands and surely millions in the continent,” he said.
According to Murphy, the report presents Liberia’s achievements and challenges as it relates to the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS which called for reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 50% by 2015; reduce transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50% by 2015; and eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and substantially reduce AIDS-related maternal deaths.
He pointed out that Liberia’s National Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020 provides a perfect framework for accelerating the HIV response, but said provided the funding gap is addressed and available funding is directed toward a people centered approach in HIV and AIDS programming.
Murphy further said if Liberia must get to zero, HIV prevention; Care, treatment and support, and Human rights and gender equity for the HIV response must be key to the national response to reach the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Participants appreciated the progress report which was developed through a highly consultative process including government, civil society, community based structures and UN representatives.
Consequently, the participants also reviewed the zero draft of the UN General Assembly 2016 political declaration on the fast-track to end AIDS in the age of sustainable development. Emphasis was placed on fast-tracking HIV prevention; Care, treatment and support, and Human rights and gender equity for the HIV response.
In an opening remark, UNAIDS Country Director, Dr. Betru T. Woldesemayat, appreciated the interactive forum noting that the fast track approach will enable Liberia to reach the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
“The gains remain fragile unless the momentum is sustained and excelled. In Liberia, there are thousands of people do not know that they have the virus. I think we need to scale up support and fast track approaches that will lead to quick result to end the AIDS epidemic,” Dr. Woldesemayat stated.
Speaking earlier, NAC Chairman, Dr. Ivan F. Camanor welcomed the participants and requested their full commitment to participate during the event. Dr. Camanor remains optimistic that Liberia can end AIDS by 2030. “Together we can end the HIV and AIDS
Epidemic by year 2030,” Dr. Camanor maintained; “Ensuring the success of the SDGs, including ending the AIDS epidemic, will require global solidarity and partnership, especially in times of diverse and demanding global challenges and we must do all in our powers to achieve that goal.”