9 May 2013

Liberia: GOL, UN Partners Review Gender Equality & HIV

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender and Development (MoDG) in collaboration with the National AIDS Commission (NAC), UNAIDS and other institutional partners on Wednesday ended the joint reviewed of the Operational Plan for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV. The Operational Plan sets the agenda for accelerated country action for women, girls, gender equality and HIV.

But giving an overview of the operational plan, Mr. Isaac Ahemesah, UNAIDS' Liberia Rights, Gender, Country Community Mobilization Adviser, noted that even though Liberia was amongst few countries to develop and launch the operational plan since 2011, but much was not achieved.

According to him, there has been insufficient data on impact of HIV epidemic on women and girls something he said was, "partly because of the limited coordination and sharing between the different ministries collecting relevant data, with limited systematic (cross) analysis."

Making a PowerPoint presentation, Mr Ahemesah further expressed concern about women and girls limited access to integrated sexual and reproductive health and HIV services, resulting in unmet reproductive health needs, as reflected in the higher HIV prevalence among young women.

Quoiting the 2007 Demographic Health Survey, He emphasized that HIV prevalence was three times higher among girls age 15 to 19 years (1.3%) than for boys (0.4%) in the same age group. Similarly, among young women aged 20 to 22 years HIV have an HIV prevalence rate of 2.1% as against 1.6% for young men.

For his part, Mr. Hh Zaizay, National Programme Officer of Gender and HIV at the Ministry of Gender and Development indicated that even though the plan was develop and launch in 2011 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, much of the activities in the plan were not implemented due to inadequate resources for the plan implementation. According to Mr. Zaizay, the review will help in addressing the funding and other bottlenecks that have impeded the implementation of the plan.

Closing the workshop, Dr Ivan Carmanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) urged participants to work together with the Ministry of Gender to eliminate sexual and gender based violence, gender equality and other socio-economic and cultural factors that contribute to high HIV prevalence among women and girls in Liberia.

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