By Saidu Kanu
The World Food Programme (WFP) Sierra Leone in collaboration with UNAIDS, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Aids Secretariat (NAS) and other partners on 7 December 2021 launched a joint assessment report of the most vulnerable People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in terms of their livelihood and food security as well as their health care status and vulnerability to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disastrous situations at the Radisson blue Hotel in Freetown. This assessment was conducted in August 2021 and randomly selected over 3,000 of PLHIV and TB patients (77% women) on antiretroviral drugs across the country.
Funded under the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) the objectives of the assessment include:
To determine the vulnerability of PLHIVs using a set of commonly agreed criteria.
To determine whether those identified as vulnerable currently benefit from existing response schemes, and to identify potential barriers preventing most vulnerable PLHIV and other risk population groups from accessing benefits.
iii. To explore opportunities for inclusion of vulnerable people identified into the national social protection response schemes through NaCSA or other relevant government structures like the Ministry of Social Welfare
To determine different options available to maintain continuity or sustainable response for short, medium, and long-term effect.
According to the findings of the report, 54 percent of respondents were not engaged in an any form of income generating activities, 41 percent only consume only one meal a day and 1.6 percent reported access to social protection scheme.
The Director General National HIV/AIDS Secretariat In his, Mr. Abdul Rahman Sesay,
statement at the launch said that the document was very critical in mainstreaming the beneficiaries into the social protection scheme and addressing risks, vulnerabilities, morbidity and mortality among PLHIVs.
“The report is very timely and makes for better planning and utilization of resources,” said Dr. Sao-Kpato Hannah Max-Kyne, Commissioner of NaCSA.
The PLHIV profiling and vulnerability assessment report will provide the basis for generating evidence for vulnerability amongst PLHIVs that could be used by development partners for targeting and designing interventions for key population groups as well as to advocate for inclusion of PLHIVs into the national social protection scheme.
The report will contribute to ending inequalities against PLHIV through an effective HIV sensitive social protection programme.