By: Necus M. Andrews
The National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) has concluded a two day national stakeholders’ meeting to solicit the inputs of civil society organizations and development partners for the development of Liberia’s new HIV and AIDS National Strategic Plan II (NSP II).
The new NSP II 2021-2025, is a five year strategic document designed to fast track the effort of Liberia in ending AIDS by 2030 as a public health threat.
Held at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, the meeting was aimed at allowing the participants from relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government institutions and UN partners to review the draft NSP document and provide recommendations that will inform the final draft.
Presenting the draft NSP at the meeting, the Director for Program and Policy at the National AIDS Commission, Mr. Sandei Cooper told the stakeholders and partners that their inputs are critical to ensuring a roadmap document to guide the country’s HIV and AIDS response.
Mr. Cooper said the AIDS Commission attaches serious attention in involving every stakeholder in writing the NSP II because it will encourage ownership when it is finalized.
According to Mr. Cooper, the involvement of these different partners who have over years made impacts in the HIV response is important to ensure a strengthened participation and coordination.
In their recommendations during the meeting, the partners told the National AIDS Commission that in order to achieve the goal of the NSP in ending AIDS by 2020, the holding of consultations with the legislature and Judiciary, human rights groups and key population is key.
The partners, including ministries of Labour, Gender and the Network of persons living with HIV also recommended to the AIDS Commission to consider the creation of gender and human rights desk at the commission to coordinate HIV, gender and Human rights issues directly.
Commenting on the reduction of stigma and discrimination which is holding people back from knowing their status, partners want the commission to consider training media personnel on sensitive Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues.
The NSP II focuses on the UNAIDS’ fast-track strategy to prevent new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths, as well as placing emphasis on treatment, care and support interventions by 2025.