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LCM Concludes Joint HIV/TB Regional Country Dialogue

The Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the country has concluded in partnership with the Ministry of Health Programs (National AIDS/STIs Control Program – NACP and National Leprosy and TB Control Program – NLTCP) and the National AIDS Commission (NAC) a regional Country Dialogue.
The dialogue was intended to solicit citizens’ inputs for the development of new funding request to address TB/HIV related issues jointly in the West African State.
Separate central level country dialogue meetings with key stakeholders inclusive of national and international partners, as well as, civil society, faith based, the media, persons living with HIV, TB cured person, key affected population to TB and HIV are expected to take place next week in Monrovia.
The LCM ended the regional engagements on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 following the conclusion of region 3 counties– Nimba, Lofa and Bong country dialogue which took placed in Ganta City, Nimba County from 20-21 January, 2019. About 76 representatives of local county authorities, Ministry of Health, County Health Officers; the private sector; faith-based organizations; traditional leaders; civil society groups; human rights groups; community based organizations, key populations to TB/HIV, women based groups, persons living with HIV; people who are most vulnerable to and affected by the diseases attended the dialogue.

The Global Fund Portfolio Management Team for Liberia High Level Mission head Ms. Seble Abebe, Liberia’s Fund Portfolio Manager made a courtesy visit during region 3 dialogue held in Ganta, Nimba County.
The participants from the three counties identified the followings as their priorities toward ending AIDS and Stopping TB spread in Liberia: HIV/TB Prevention; Prevention of HIV from Mother to Child Transmission, and Prevention of HIV from Mother to Child Transmission, and Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR-TB); HIV/TB Collaboration, and Removing human rights and gender-related barriers to TB services; HIV Program Management, and Reducing human rights and gender-related barriers to HIV service.
To Resilient Sustainable System for Health (RSSH) component, the participants prioritized the following: Health products management systems, Integrated service delivery and quality improvement; Human resources for health, including community health workers; integration; and Health Management Information Systems and M&E.
The participants ranking was informed by national data facilitated by the national programs-HIV and TB.
In a PowerPoint presentation on the background of HIV, achievements versus challenges, Dr. Julia T. Garbo, Program Manager of NACP said Liberia HIV prevalence is at 2.1% in the general population and the primary modes of transmission in Liberia are: sexual contact and prenatal transmission. She called on all to get tested in order to know their HIV status, stop stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV in the counties.
Presenting on the new policy direction for HIV, Mrs. Theodosia Kolee, Chairperson of the NAC said the new National Strategic Plan (NSP 2020-2025) for HIV envisioned, an “HIV and AIDS fee Liberia”; with a mission focusing on attaining public health control of the AIDS epidemic with fewer than 10 new HIV infections per year by 2030.
She outlined the thematic goals of the new NSP as follow: Goal 1. Prevent new HIV infection to less than 500 per year – Target 1. Scale up HIV treatment to reach 95% triple targets for persons living with HIV; and Target 2. Scale up HIV interventions to reach 60% of estimated key populations. Goal 2. Test and Treat; and Goal 3. Reduce stigma and discrimination for PLHIV and vulnerable populations to less than 20%.
Also making presentation on background, achievements and challenges of TB in Liberia, Mrs. Markonee T. Knightley, Deputy Program Manager for Programs at NLTCP said Liberia has been ranked as the 30th high TB burden countries in the World by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As in many other high TB burden settings, economic, health and socio-demographic factors are the key issues underlying TB disease in Liberia, she continues that in 2018, about 15,000 people fell ill with TB in Liberia.
At current 48% of people that fell ill with TB were missed while only 52% were notified. She also called on participants to know the facts about TB in order to stop stigma and discrimination against TB person.
Presenting on the new policy direction for TB, Dr. Roxanne Booker, Program Manager of the TB Program in Liberia said the vision of the new NLTCP’s TB NSP 2020-2025 is to see Liberia free of TB and Leprosy; while its mission is to provide universal high-quality tuberculosis and Leprosy prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services for all persons affected by TB and Leprosy in Liberia.
According to her, the new NSP has three goals which include: to provide high-quality TB diagnosis and treatment to all patients without them having to incur catastrophic costs; to institute bold policies and supportive systems for TB care and prevention; and to intensified research and innovations.
Earlier on Mrs. Paulina Doe Hilton, Head of Secretariat of the LCM had explained the importance of the country dialogue, provided overview of the Global Fund New funding Model III (NFM III) and further disclosed that the Global Fund has allocated to Liberia about US$ 37.8 million grant to help curb TB/HIV in the country for the period of three years (from 2021-2023); with a request that the Government of Liberia must provide a 10% counterpart funding for the joint grant.
She noted that Liberia has decided to submit for approval by the Global Fund, the joint funding request on March 23, 2020 by an established LCM’s Funding Request Development and Oversight Committees, following the incorporation of the views solicited from the regions and central levels.
In a special remark, Martine Myrtil Pamphile, Global Fund Specialist for Public Health and M&E who is part of Global Fund visiting mission team to Liberia thanked the participants for their active participation during the two days country dialogue. She also thanked the LCM for organizing the dialogue and expressed optimism for the funding request development and submission.

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