Government of Liberia and United Nations launch UN Joint Programme of Support on HIV and AIDS

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Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission, Dr. Ivan Camanor, and UN Resident Coordinator/Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Moustapha Soumaré, launched today, the Joint Programme of Support to HIV and AIDS. The signing and launch of the UN Joint Programme took place at the UNAIDS conference room in Monrovia.

The UN Joint Programme sets out the United Nations’ collective support to the Government in addressing the HIV epidemic in Liberia. The two-year programme is based on the National AIDS Strategic Framework (2010-2015).

“The National AIDS Commission worked with the UN in identifying those areas of support which will have maximum impact in Liberia’s response effort” says Dr. Ivan Camanor, Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission. “The UN will provide much needed technical expertise and funding through this Joint Programme.”

The UN Joint Programme will support efforts related to the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and treatment of children, mitigating stigma and discrimination, as well as assistance in providing treatment, care and support for people living with HIV.

“The Joint Programme is strategic, focused on what can be done collectively by the UN, and also works on building the capacity of the National AIDS Commission,” says Moustapha Soumaré, UN Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Recovery and Governance.

“The launch of this Joint Programme takes place on some important anniversaries. 2011 marks 30 years since AIDS was first diagnosed, 10 years since the UN Declaration of commitment on AIDS, and 5 years since the UN Political Declaration on AIDS which formulated the Universal Access movement leading to the High Level meeting on HIV in New York from June 8-11 to which Liberia will have a high powered delegation.”

Some of the initiatives that will be undertaken under the Joint Programme include data collection, monitoring and information management; undertaking a study on modes of transmission and generation of strategic data and information for HIV prevention; provision of youth and adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health services; assistance in formulating an appropriate legal and policy environment that will address stigma and discrimination issues; and support to Government for the treatment and care for persons living with HIV.

“The Joint Programme espouses the principle of national ownership, incorporates a human rights based approach and gender equality, and assists with providing a flexible, appropriately tailored initiative that seeks to prevent the spread of HIV, and assist those that are living with HIV in Liberia, said Isabel Crowley, the Chair of the UN Theme Group on AIDS and UNICEF Country Representative.

The UN Joint Programme of Support on HIV and AIDS has a total budget of US$2 million, of which 75% has been funded.