Margibi County Health Officer Says HIV Infection Rate Alarming

KAKATA, Margibi – Margibi’s county health officer has raised the alarm about what he said is a relatively high rate of HIV infection in Margibi and two other counties – Montserrado and Grand Bassa.

Making the disclosure recently on a local radio station in Kakata, Dr. Adolphus Yeah said there are 43,000 people infected with HIV in Liberia, a situation that needs to be addressed with a robust strategy.

Yeah said Margibi alone has 9.5 percent of the country’s HIV population. He added that only about 465 of people living with HIV in the county are aware of their status, with 377 of them on antiretroviral therapy treatment.

“We have a huge task because we have many other persons who are unknowingly infecting others because they might be positive and don’t know their status,” he said. “And if you know your status that you are positive, get on treatment to allow you live longer and if negative we encourage to stick to the rules and stay negative.”

He said Margibi has a lot of densely populated and transient communities such as the Roberts International Airport area, Kakata, as well as the Firestone and Salala rubber plantations. Those areas, he said, can contribute to spreading the virus.

He disclosed that the county’s health team had begun an outreach through a team that conducts mobile voluntary testing and counseling in major communities in the county including Kakata, Weala, Marshall, Duazohn, Harbel, Dolo Town, and Unification City.

Tarr Sackie, the chairperson of the HIV steering committee who also doubles as the county inspector, said his committee would help the county health team mobilize the communities to turn out for voluntary counseling and testing in a bid to have at least 50 percent of the residents of the county to know their status in 2018.

Featured photo by Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel has over a decade of experience working as a community radio broadcaster. He is the Margibi correspondent for the Liberia Broadcasting System and currently the acting president of the Margibi Journalist Association. Emmanuel is also a member of the Press Union of Liberia and a 2016 Internews Health Journalism Fellow.

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