Sister Barbara Brillant, Dean of the Mother Patern College of Health Sciences (MPCHS) of the Catholic’s Stella Maris Polytechnic, has called on the Liberian government to cater to People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV).
Sister Barbara said that although the Catholic church in Liberia and others are providing some form of care for PLHIV, the government must live up to its obligation by providing necessary treatments for these people.
She used the occasion to call on PLHIV to hold the government to its responsibilities for providing basic social services, such as care and treatment, to be adequately supplied for them.
Government will only be challenged if people living with HIV/AIDs begin to speak out about what is not being adequately provided for them, such as treatment drugs, she cautioned.
Sister Barbara was speaking recently at a program marking the observance of 2015 World AIDS Day by the Catholic Church HIV/AIDs Program of Mother Patern College of Health Sciences.
The local theme for this year’s World AIDs Day is: “Liberia fast tracking: Scale up treatment, know your status, stop stigma and discrimination and end the AIDs epidemic by 2030.”
World AIDS Day is internationally recognized on December 1 as a day when individuals and organizations around the world come together to raise awareness about HIV, celebrate successes in the fight against HIV and remember those who have died of the disease.
However, various activities surrounding the main event began on November 20 and will continue up to the main day of the celebration.
Sister Barbara noted that the organization decided to celebrate this year’s World AIDs Day ahead of the main schedule because there were many other activities, including the nationwide celebration.
She stated that the Catholic church’s main aim for supporting the HIV/AIDs program in Liberia stems from the Holy bible, in which God commanded people with the upper hand to defend the poor and the orphans.
“For us, as Christians, God has told us, to defend those in need such as the poor and the orphans. This is the background of our support to this group,” said Sister Barbara.
She pointed out that the church’s initiative is aimed at buttressing the global effort to end HIV/AIDs by 2030.
For her part, Mrs. Sarah Mensah, an official associated with the church’s AIDS program, disclosed that the Catholic Church’s program began in 1997 “when few people were doing little for those infected with HIV.”
She said since its establishment, the program has progressed with its services over the years with support from the Catholic Church in Germany.
“The Catholic church’s HIV/AIDs Program of Mother Patern College of Health Sciences has focused on preventing and controlling HIV/AIDs infection in Liberia,” noted the social worker.
Meanwhile, several PLHIV at the occasion told their stories and explained how the Catholic Church has helped to transform their lives for the better.