The UNAIDS Liberia has recognized HIV as not only a health issue, but a social and economic problem requiring integration into development frameworks at national, sectoral and local levels.
Mr. David Chipanta, UNAIDS Country Co-ordinator for Liberia speaking at the opening of the mainstreaming workshop for HIV and AIDS focal points said to effectively integrate HIV in development and sector plans, stakeholders should mainstream HIV in their activities and support enlisted activities with predictable and long term financing from domestic sources.
He said, what sets AIDS apart as a growing problem is its unprecedented impact on development. He said the economic and social impacts of AIDS are not uniform across countries nor within societies, yet where ever AIDS strikes, individuals, communities and sectors are affected.
“Human capacity, productivity and prospects for economic growth are affected. For poor people, the onset of AIDS is often the cause and result of poverty. For women, the onset of AIDS is often the cause and result of entrenched gender inequality. We care about HIV in the context of development for three major reasons: HIV affects people.
And people are the centre of everything we do. By affecting the most productive population, HIV affects the productivity of labor. It reduces the size and quality of the labor pool. By eroding the social capital of communities, HIV affects the long term economic prospects of countries.
Secondly, with an increasing number of children orphaned by HIV, their process of socialization and capital accumulation is threatened impinging on their abilities to fully participate in the economic development of the country.
And HIV puts fiscal pressure on the national budgets to support the long term health and social needs of an ailing population. With the imperative to provide lifelong treatment, a permanent and increasing resources commitment is required of governments to sustain the lifelong treatment and care needs of People Living with HIV,” he said.
Chipanta further said, for Sector’s commitments on AIDS to be meaningful and useful, it must be pragmatically implemented, consistently with intensity and scale necessary to make an impact. He said small, ad hoc and un-coordinated responses have no place in an effective AIDS response.
According to Chipanta, only well planned and executed large scale and intense AIDS responses can make a difference in the lives of the people of Liberia, adding that government’s commitment, owners and leadership through budgetary allocations of financial and technical resources are crucial to address the HIV epidemic.
He however pledged UNAIDS Liberia and the UN agencies continued support to Liberia on the sector’s mainstreaming activities.