Monrovia - UNAIDS Country Director accredited to Liberia Dr. Miriam Chipimo has reaffirmed the UN coordinating body of the AIDS response support to the Liberia Network of Persons Living with HIV (LibNeP+) in the country.
Dr. Chipimo made the declaration over the weekend, during the Network’s regular Quarterly Association Meeting, hosted at UNAIDS Country Office.
The LibNeP+ Quarterly Association Meeting took place in the context of renewing, redoubling and reenergizing the efforts of the members of the Network as it contributes its quota to the newly adopted Accelerated National HIV and AIDS Emergency plan (Catch-Up plan) of the Government of Liberia which is aligned with the Political Declaration on ending AIDS by 2030 approved in June 2016 at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA.
The Political Declaration is aimed at catalyzing the country and the region on ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030.
Dr. Chipimo said UNAIDS remains fully committed to supporting persons living with HIV globally and those in Liberia are no exception.
“We are here because of you. We will always do our best to be there to help you,” said Dr. Chipimo.
According to her, persons living with HIV are key players to the national AIDS response; noting that Liberia cannot be robust implementing its accelerated national catch-up plan of meeting the 90-90-90 target towards ending AIDS when The Network is not playing a major role.
Dr. Chipimo intoned that Liberia is one of the countries in the West and Central African Region that is behind the progress as testified in various reports.
So, for UNAIDS, she said, meeting the three 90s will be an appreciated achievement for Liberia.
To reach there, the UNAIDS Country Director challenged LibNeP+ to advance progress on reducing stigma and discrimination in the country.
She added among other things, that PLHIV should increase dialogue at the community level to develop best approach to end stigma and discrimination and end AIDS.
“You need to build on the support group discussion level to advance activities in the community where you are already. "
"Design programs that include community dialogues to generate a paradigm shift - to supportive perceptions and responses towards persons living with HIV and their families,” Dr. Chipimo noted.
Meanwhile, LibNeP+ during its meeting, agreed to advance strategies to end the epidemic despite challenges of insufficient logistics support, good roads, and frequent occurrence of stock out of drugs in rural areas, and stigma and discrimination.
The President of the Governing Board of The Network, Madam Josephine Godoe, reiterated the need for unity among members of The Network so as to overcome the numerous challenges facing The Network internally and externally, instead of “…fighting among ourselves…” She said, "...people are dying...this is a great challenge for us...this is the time for us to come and speak out...so that our voices can be heard...let's continue to do the good work..."
LibNeP+ Executive Director, Karl William Sr. called on The Network members to be united more than ever to achieve their overall objectives.
According to him, the current challenges confronting The Network and persons living with HIV in general are factors that must motivate all to work tirelessly in helping Liberia meet her share of the target of the global AIDS response of 90-90-90.
“We have done well but we have to do our best to get there, though it seems difficult now but we will get there, I encourage you all,” Mr. William Sr. maintained.