Background

The first attempt to establish the National AIDS Commission was made in the year 2000. However, it was not until June 2007 that the National AIDS Commission was formally reconstituted with the aim of promoting a more multi sectoral response beyond the health sector.  Its purpose is to serve as the primary national body to coordinate, monitor, and mobilize resources for the national response to HIV. 

 

The Commission is chaired by the President of the Republic of Liberia.   It aims to promote the active involvement of the private and public sectors and includes all major prevention, care and treatment components, such as HIV prevention among most-at-risk populations, condom promotion, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, voluntary counselling and testing and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission services, blood safety, ARV treatment and treatment of opportunistic infections, and Orphan and Vulnerable Children Support.  

 

The Commission set up a steering committee, which developed a draft legislation and an initial strategic framework for HIV in 2008.  The full functioning of the Commission was delayed due to delays in finalizing its legal status.  The appointment of an Executive Director in February 2009; the passage into law of the Commission’s Act in2010, and the completion and launch of the HIV and AIDS National Strategic Framework 2010- 2014 marked the beginning of a more effective coordination of a truly multi sectoral response.    

Relationship between the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and the National AIDS Commission

Following the discovery of the first case of HIV in Liberia in 1986, the National AIDS & STI Control Program of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare was established in1987 to spearhead the government’s health response to the pandemic.  Due to the outbreak of the war and its duration, the national response to HIV and AIDS was hampered.  The war itself also contributed to the increase of the disease in the country, through such occurrences as rape, the huge exodus of health practitioners from the country, and the collapse of the health system, among others.     

 

The National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) was established by an act of the National Legislature in 2010 under the Office of the President as a demonstration of government’s unwavering commitment to, and involvement in, the fight against HIV and AIDS.  The Commission was established to ensure a multi sectoral, harmonized response. Hence, while the National HIV and AIDS Control Program (NACP) focuses on government’s health sector response to the pandemic, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) is responsible for coordinating the multi sectoral response. 

Organizational Profile

Liberia subscribes to the UNAIDS’ global principles of “The Three Ones” in its effort to coordinate the national response.  The “Three Ones refer to

  1. One HIV and AIDS coordinating authority (the National AIDS Commission);
  2. One HIV and AIDS action plan that provides the basis of implementation for all partners (NSF), and  
  3. One country level monitoring and evaluation system for planning and coordinating the national response in the country.  

The structure of the Commission hinges on five key priorities as spelled out in the National Strategic Framework II.  They include

  1. Coordination of the decentralized, multi sectoral approach
  2. Infection prevention and behavior change communication
  3. Strengthen the coverage, and scale up the utilization of treatment, care and support available to people living with HIV
  4. Strengthen the availability, management and utilization of strategic information that will inform the planning and implementation of programs
  5. Promote a supportive environment for women, men, and children living with HIV, and reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination