Pres. Weah Declares December 1, 2020 World AIDS Day
The President of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, has issued a Proclamation declaring Tuesday, December 1, 2020 as World AIDS Day to be observed throughout the Republic as a working holiday, in recognition of the immense contributions of the United Nations to combat HIV and AIDS.
The Proclamation calls upon all ministries, agencies of Government, local and international organizations and the general public to join the National Aids Commission of Liberia, to organize and execute appropriate programs to make the day meaningful.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, this year’s World Aids Day will be celebrated under the Global Theme: “Global Solidarity, Share Responsibility” and the National Theme: “Get Involved, end AIDS together in Liberia”.
The Proclamation stressed that the world’s attention has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth.
The Proclamation further indicated that it is in line with the principles of creating awareness of the threat of HIV and AIDS embodied in the policies of the Government, as adopted, are in accordance with those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Joint Program on the HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to educate and keep the Liberian People aware of the threat of AIDS.
The Proclamation noted that United Nations Joint Program on the HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has designated the 1st Day of December of each year as World AIDS Day, and urges all member countries to execute relevant and appropriate awareness programs in observance of the day.
The Proclamation further expressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the entrenched inequalities existing in our societies. This health crisis, like many others, is hitting the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.
We have seen how the COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges faced by people living with HIV, women and girls and key populations, including accessing life-saving health care and how the crisis has widened the social and economic inequalities that increase the vulnerability of marginalized groups of HIV.
The Presidential Proclamation also stated that Liberia has generalized HIV pandemic with reproductive age population showing HIV prevalence of 2.1% (2013 LDHS), even though UNAIDS 2020 spectrum estimates put it at 1.5%, with an estimated adult HIV population of 47,000.
The Proclamation further disclosed that Significant variation in HIV prevalence exist between and within regions and counties. HIV prevalence is higher in urban (2.6%) than in rural (0.8%) areas. The sub-central region has the highest prevalence of 2.7% among the five regions and Montserrado, Margibi and Grand Bassa have the highest HIV among the 15 counties and together account for about 70% of the burden of the disease in the country.
Since the diagnosis of AIDS in 1981, it has continued to pose a serious problem and threats to the health and wellbeing of the human race of which the People of Liberia are of no exception, the Proclamation added.