Liberia: The Liberia Coordinating Mechanism Regional Dialogue Helps Bassa, Margibi, Montserrado Identify Priority Areas for TB/HIV

Grand — The Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM) has received a set of recommendation from Liberia's three TB/HIV high burden counties (Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado) for inclusion in the country's new funding request to the Global Fund for approval.

The LCM is currently conducting a regional consultative country dialogue to write a joint TB/HIV funding request for submission to the Global Fund by March 23, 2019. Liberia's grant for TB/HIV ends December 31, 2020. The LCM is working with national partners, including the National AIDS Commission (NAC), the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s programs - National AIDS Control Program and the National Leprosy and TB Control Program (NLTCP), to conduct a nationwide country dialogue that is intended to solicit input from citizens across the fifteen counties.

Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado as the three high burden counties for TB and HIV, according to national documents (National HIV Strategic Plan 2019-2025 and the National TB Strategic Plan 2019-2025) were pigeonholed in region two based on the LCM's concept.

The priorities identified by the three counties were: HIV/TB Prevention; HIV Treatment, Care and support services; HIV/TB collaborative activities; Prevention of HIV from Mother to Child Transmission; Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR-TB); Differentiated HIV testing services; Reducing human rights-related barriers to TB/HIV services; and TB/HIV Program Management.

The Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado counties' participants' priority areas are aligned to the national strategic plans for Liberia and the modular framework of the Global Fund.

The dialogue for the three counties took placed in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, from 9-10 January, 2020 thus bringing together more than 70 participants.

The participants were inclusive of local county officials, representatives of the Ministry of Health, County Health Officers; the private sector; faith-based organizations; traditional leaders; civil society groups; human rights groups; community based organizations, networks of key populations, women based groups, persons living with HIV; people who are most vulnerable to and affected by the diseases.

Responding to the recommendations as submitted by the region, Mrs. Paulina Doe Hilton, Head of Secretariat of the LCM, thanked all for their participation and for ranking their priorities in accordance with the National Plans and the Global Fund Modular Framework.

According to her, region one which included Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties equally presented their set of recommendations to be considered during the development of the new funding request for the country; thereby promising that recommendations from these regions will be taken into serious consideration by the proposal writing committee which includes developmental and national partners, faith-based organizations, civil society representatives, key population representatives as well as the national programs - TB/HIV- and the LCM Secretariat.

Other regions to be reached include: Region 3- Nimba, Bong and Lofa counties; Region 4- Sinoe, Rivercess and Grand Gedeh Counties; and Region 5 - River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru counties.

She further disclosed that there will be national engagements for national partners, civil society, key and affected populations which will take place from 27-30 January 2020 in Monrovia to climax the dialogue.

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