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UNAIDS Regional Director Concludes Mission to Liberia

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The Regional Director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS or UNAIDS for the West and Central Africa, Dr. Djibril Diallo, has concluded a four-day official mission to Liberia, According to a release issue Wednesday, August 3,2016, Dr. Diallo was accompanied by Dr. Joy Backory, Regional Community Mobilization and Networking Adviser of West Africa.

The Release said the mission took place in the context of the newly adopted Political Declaration on ending AIDS by 2030 in June 2016 at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA. Dr. Diallo was able to deliver the message of the UNAIDS’ Executive Director, Michel Sidibé to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia on the nation’s contributions to the global response
to ending AIDS. The release indicated that UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa, who arrived in the country on July 25, 2016 from Dakar, Senegal, also requested the President of Liberia support as an eminent personality and Chair of the Economic Community of West Africa States or ECOWAS towards the operationalization of the Political Declaration on ending AIDS by 2030 and development and finalization of an Emergency Plan for the West and Central Africa Region.

The WCA Emergency Plan is an emanation of the Political Declaration aimed at catalyzing the country and the region on ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030. Visiting the offices of the President of Liberia before his departure, Dr. Diallo also acknowledged the resilience of her government to have eradicated Ebola and the level of work done so far toward ending AIDS especially now that the region anticipates in developing an Emergency Plan which will help close gaps in the AIDS response.

The UNAIDS Country Office and the National AIDS Commission had earlier highlighted the advances and challenges ahead of Liberia’s AIDS response, according to the release.
It also quoted the mission as pointing out that the West and Central
Africa Region was behind the progress as testified in various reports
both by UNAIDS and others – only 29 percent of People living with HIV
and AIDS in the West and Central Africa region have access to
antiretroviral treatment whereas these coverage is at 54 per cent in
East and Central Africa.
Dr. Diallo averred that the strong leadership of President Sirleaf
exercised during the heights of the Ebola crisis, thereby addressing
not only issues of Ebola but HIV and AIDS, could be used in mobilizing
regional and international efforts now that she chairs the ECOWAS.
The UNAIDS Regional Director further noted that the quest of the
regional team is to use Liberia as the “Island of Hope” for the West
and Central Region and the world at large both from the lessons of the
AIDS and Ebola response.
“The West and Central Africa Emergency Plan to achieve the 90-90-90
will aim at catalyzing the ECOWAS regional AIDS plan and
cross-fertilization with the regional health security efforts and
other regional health programs,” said Dr. Diallo.
In response, President Sirleaf committed strong support to the
national, regional and global effort to ending AIDS and to provide
political support for the Emergency Plan on ending AIDS in West and
Central Africa in line with the UN Political Declaration on AIDS
adopted in New York in June 2016.
Meanwhile, during his mission, the UNAIDS Regional Director attended
major functions including the 169th Independence Day Celebration of
the West African State held on July 26, 2016 in Monrovia, and made
remarks during the opening ceremony of workshop for member states of
ECOWAS on Post-Ebola Global Reforms: The West African Perspective,
organized in Monrovia from 28th to 29th July 2016, the release
He also met with High Profile UN Officials and representatives of the
government of Liberia as well as civil society actors including
associations of the network of people living with HIV, representatives
of youth and Ebola survival organizations on the importance of newly
adopted Political Declaration on Ending AIDS by 2030 and the emergency
plan for West and Central Africa.
At the end of his mission, according to the release, Dr. Diallo
addressed local journalists in Monrovia on the importance of his visit
to Liberia and the impact of HIV and AIDS in the Western and Central
Africa sub-regions which he heads as the UNAIDS Regional Director from
Dakar, Senegal.

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