President Weah Reaffirms Liberia’s Commitment to ‘End AIDS 2030’ Campaign
Monrovia, Liberia – The President of Liberia, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah as assured the United Nations General Assembly that Liberia remains committed to global efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030 consistent with “Common Africa Position on HIV/AIDS,” which was developed in consultation with all member states of the African Union.
In a statement Tuesday, June 8, 2021, to the High-Level Virtual Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV and AIDS—a meeting aimed at reviewing progress made since 2016—President Weah said Liberia has been able to respond to this disease through effective government policies that have over the years been developed and implemented with important assistance and guidance from key international stakeholders, and with a strong focus on community mobilization.
The Liberian Leader applauded the leadership of the United Nations for convening the High Level Meeting for providing the opportunity to review the progress made thus far, and to deliberate on further measures that must be taken to effectively curtail the ravages of this long-lasting pandemic.
President Weah admonished the world body that “while we are currently pre-occupied with the current global pandemic of Covid-19, we must also continue to remain focused on these two existing diseases which have lingered for many years now, and which require our continuous and collective resolve to find lasting solutions to save mankind from these scourges.”
He informed the UN General Assembly that that Liberia, for its part, has aligned itself with the Common Africa Position on HIV/AIDS, which was developed in consultation with all member states of the African Union.
According to Dr. Weah, the position takes into consideration concrete and practical measures to address the problem and embodies sufficient political will.
He however acknowledged that though there has incremental progress in HIV/AIDS response, where the disease has been stable over the last two decades, with fewer people becoming infected, “we are still challenged by our inability to effectively eradicate the disease.”
Dr. Weah asserted that the Government of Liberia has provided improved HIV testing services in the last two years, thus doubling the number of people who know their HIV status.
“Also, pregnant women are required to undergo HIV testing, and couples intending to formalize their civil unions are required to undergo HIV testing before marriage licenses and certificates are issued to them. Those who test positive for HIV are immediately counseled and placed on a course of HIV treatment.”
The Chief Executive noted that COVID-19 has placed enormous additional pressure on various economies, and on health systems, and has consequently affected HIV response mechanisms.
“It has threatened to overwhelm the already fragile health systems in our region, thus threatening to erase the gains and progress that have been made in previous years,” he added. “Even with all the efforts that have been deployed, and the strong political will on the part of its leaders, Africa remains the most affected continent, and is off-track in its goal to End AIDS by 2030. Stigma and discrimination, gender inequalities and gender-based violence remain key barriers to access quality services, the President said, noting: “We are optimistic that this High-Level Meeting will provide an opportunity to reshape and redouble our efforts to ‘End AIDS by 2030’”.
He said Liberia recommits itself to strengthening its health care system, and joining the call to reinforce local production capacities of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vaccines in Africa.
President Weah called for the conclusion of the meeting with a “Political Declaration that commits to bold strategies which will aim to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.”
This, he said, must be the springboard for a decade of action to reduce inequalities and root out socio-economic and cultural barriers that fuel the spread of HIV.