The Country Director for the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Dr. Michael Frank Gboun on Friday 20th November paid a courtesy call on President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House, Freetown.
The UNAIDS is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Receiving the envoy, President Koroma acknowledged the support received from the UNAIDS in combating the disease. He said the Ebola outbreak affected government’s programmes and activities in bringing down the 1.5% prevalence rate of the virus across the country.
The president expressed the need to encourage HIV positive persons to come for treatment and ascertain their status in order to avoid the disease being a public health problem.
He informed that the last visit of the Executive Director of UNAIDS Mr. Michel Sidibe has led to policy direction, methods and support in fighting the virus, and reaffirmed government’s commitment in stemming the rate of infection.
He further expressed hope that the new ideas the Country Director has will enhance continued commitment from UNAIDS, to coordinate and mobilize resources in defeating the virus.
President Koroma also underscored the importance of staying engaged and work together to provide support in putting HIV/AIDS under control.
In his statement, Dr Michael Frank Gboun registered his commitment to support the National AIDS Secretariat, mobilize resources and ensure that HIV/AIDS ceases to be a public health problem.
Whilst giving updates of the number of infected persons in the country, Dr. Gboun stated the urgent need to tackle the disease in order to prevent it from stifling the country’s productivity in the march towards prosperity.
He noted that Sierra Leone is the first country to mainstream the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the national plan on HIV/AIDS.
He also informed that Fifty Million United States Dollars has been mobilized and will be available by January 2016 to support the health system in the country.
Dr. Gboun reiterated commitment to bring down the prevalence rate of the disease and encouraged government to increase domestic funding to fight the disease, which he said, will motivate donor partners to come in.