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GeneralHealthLiberia news

NAC calls for enabling environment to end stigma 

In Liberia, discrimination continues to serve as a barrier to fast-tracking HIV interventions to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Monrovia, Thursday, February 29, 2024- In observance of World Zero Discrimination Day, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) is calling on state actors to ensure the creation of an enabling environment to put an end to stigma and discrimination in all sectors of the country.

Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated on March 1 each year to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all the member countries of the United Nations.

In a press release, the National AIDS Commission said discrimination remains a major barrier in fast-tracking HIV interventions to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The Commission empathized that to address the country’s social, health, and economic challenges posed by discrimination, the health rights of persons living with HIV, key populations, and other vulnerable groups should be respected regardless of their health status, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

This year’s Global Theme is: “Protect Everyone’s Health, Protect Everyone’s Rights.” In recognition of this theme, the Commission said it is important to allow persons living with HIV and other key and vulnerable populations who are directly affected by societal discrimination to feel confident and protected in accessing and adhering to life-saving treatment at health facilities.

The Commission is urging duty bearers, healthcare providers, and social workers to expose and discourage discriminatory attitudes and practices taking place in healthcare settings, misinformation, lack of privacy, stereotyped or hate messages, and breach of confidentiality.

To accelerate Liberia’s commitment to ending HIV-related stigma and Discrimination, the Commission said it has collaborated with stakeholders to develop the Zero Discrimination Action plan for the country and held the first-ever national stigma, Discrimination, and Advocacy conference.

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 The conference called on policymakers to ensure that no new discriminatory laws, regulations, and policies are passed, and zero denial of health services based on a person’s perceived or positive HIV status and sexuality. The conference also called for increased political will from the Liberian government in the fight against discrimination.  

The National AIDS Commission is commending its partners and donors including the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, Independent National Human Rights Commission, PEPFAR Inter-Agencies, the Global Fund, and Civil Society Organizations for their continuous support of the fight against stigma and discrimination in Liberia. —Press release

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