Liberia commits to providing affordable healthcare for citizens
By Bridgette Milton
Liberia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Frank Musah Dean says the government here is committed to providing affordable healthcare for all its citizens.
Serving as keynote speaker during the 2022 World Aids Day celebration held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville Thursday, 1 December, the Acting Chair of the Cabinet said poor health negatively impacts a nation’s human capital.
But Minister Dean said the government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) highlights the correlation between economic development and healthcare.
He said as Liberians gathered Thursday to celebrate World Aids Day, he wants to remember the many in Liberia and the world over who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS.
“The greatest honor and homage we can pay them is to spread education on how to prevent the virus,” Minister Dean said.
He said education should be provided on how to control the virus when it is contracted, and that it is not a death sentence.
He suggested that by this, many lives can be saved.
The Justice Minister noted that it is a source of joy to emphasize that Liberia’s constitutional and statutory laws seek to accord equal protection to all and equality is among the fundamental rights protected
under the constitution.
Dean explained that Article 11 of Liberia’s Constitution says that all persons are equal before the law and are, therefore, entitled to equal protection of the law.
He warned that it is illegal to discriminate or make policy or policies that discriminate against a person, be it in the workplace, school and/or in the community, based on actual or perceived HIV/AIDS status.
He explained that the Act of 2008 requires the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Gender, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with the National AIDS Commission, to launch an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in all enterprises, both public and private.
He said this awareness is necessary not only to teach the prevention of HIV/AIDS but to also promote equality and discourage inequality.
He said the Ministry of Justice stands ready to cooperate and work jointly with the National Aids Commission to realize the goals contained in its mandate and to ensure that equality is promoted and issues of inequality are addressed.
For he part, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator and UN Women Representative Dr. Comfort Lamptey said as the world has promised to end AIDS by 2030, Liberians are off track because to end AIDS, they must end the inequalities that are blocking progress.
“On this World AIDS Day, we are calling out in one voice. Equalize! The “Equalize slogan is a call to action. A call to adopt the proven practical actions that will help end AIDS,” she said.
She called for more availability, quality, and suitability of services for HIV treatment, testing, and prevention.
“That means more financial resources, better laws, policies, and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV,” she added.
Also speaking, the Chairperson of the National Aids Commission Theodosia S. Kolee said there is no way Liberians can end AIDS by 2030 as a public health threat when stigma and discrimination remain a major storming block.
She noted that the south-central region has the highest prevalence of 2.8% among the five regions.
“Montserrado, Margibi, and Grand Bassa counties have the highest HIV prevalence among the 15 counties, and others account for about 70% of the burden of disease in the country,” she said.
She said the annual death rate as a result of Aids-related complications in Liberia is put at 900, while 1,000 persons get infected with HIV every year.–Edited by Winston W. Parley