The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has alarmed that Liberia has over 300,000 person raging from children and adults are living in extreme poverty in and out of Monrovia.
Speaking at a HIV and Social Protection Planning Workshop on Friday, Williameta Saydee-Tarr, said the National Social Protection Strategy and Policy is intended to address the needs of those in community that are extremely poor and vulnerable to economic shocks.
“Liberia has over 300,000 vulnerable household, classified as living in extreme poverty. This includes vulnerable groups such as orphans, persons with disabilities and person living with HIV”.
Speaking from a UNAIDS Commission report, she said Liberia cannot realize its transformation agenda without scaling the social protection strategies that can restore human dignity and foster social cohesion.
“Social Protection programs are known to reduce poverty and vulnerability and from these interventions they have significant impact but in Liberia the need is much greater than the vulnerability of resources to take the program to scale,” Minister Tarr added.
She recall that “an assessment that took place in 2017 to review the linkage between HIV and Social Protection and that person living HIV, young people and other vulnerable groups can heard of Liberia’s Social Protection programs. And also the barriers that prevent these groups from accessing HIV prevention and treatment service can be alleviated through social protection interventions,”.
She further noted that one of the recommendations in the assessment report is there is a to increase access to social protection programs for vulnerable groups mostly affected by the AIDS epidemic.
“To increase access, we need to scale up the Social Protection interventions such as cash transfers and livelihood programs. Scaling up these investment requires a significant investment in the national social protection agenda. It is my appeal that we bring stakeholders and partners together once more to review progress to see how we can expand these programs at faster pace to reach more of our vulnerable population as quickly as possible” the minster added.
She made a commitment to ensuring that the social protection program will be reached in communities that are mostly vulnerable to ADS epidemic.
It can be recalled that Liberia and the social protection conducted an assessment from June 19-23 2017. The assessment was part of the country’s post Ebola Virus Disease outbreak recovery efforts and focus on contributing towards increasing the awareness of building social safety nets that are resilient to shocks that affect vulnerable people including people living with and at the risk of being affected by HIV.
Functioning from the premise of the HIV response as a pathfinder of multi-sector approaches that are people centered, the assessment contributes to strengthening actions to address the social and economic divers of HIV in order to realize the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic. It connects HIV with efforts for eradicating poverty and promotion of human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health. – Writes Nwelt A. Mathies