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African Leaders Vow To End AIDS In Children By 2030

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12 African leaders pledge to end HIV among children by 2030

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – On Wednesday, 12 African countries pledged to end AIDS in children by 2030 and ensure that life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs reach children. emphasized.

Pledge – known as dar es salaam declaration – Adopted at the first Ministerial Conference of Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDSThe alliance International AIDS Conference Last July in Canada.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, speaking during the conference UNAIDS She said the meeting gave her hope.

According to her, with today’s advanced medical science, babies don’t have to be born with HIV, and children living with HIV don’t have to go untreated, let alone contract it while breastfeeding.

This work will focus on four pillars: early detection and treatment. Prevent pregnant and breastfeeding women from passing the virus to their babies. Prevent new HIV infections among pregnant and lactating adolescent girls and women. “Addressing social and structural barriers to rights, gender equality and access to services”.

die every 5 minutes

Worldwide, one child dies from AIDS-related causes every five minutes today, UNAIDS said in a report. statement.

Only 52% of children living with HIV receive ARVs compared to 76% of adults receiving antiretroviral drugs. This is the World Health Organization (WHO) described it as “one of the most glaring gaps in the AIDS response”.

By 2021, 160,000 children will be infected with HIV. Children account for only 4% of people living with HIV, but account for 15% of all AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022.

Tanzania is one of 12 countries with high HIV prevalence and has since joined the alliance.

The others are Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tanzanian Health Minister Umi Mwalim (center) welcomes Vice President Philip Mpango

Three UN agencies – UNAIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) – have joined forces with the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the US Presidential Declaration of Emergency to support this initiative. I am supporting. AIDS Relief Program (PEPFAR).

Tanzania’s Vice President Philip Mpango called on countries to be “committed to moving forward collectively.”

“We all have to do our part to end AIDS in our children. Do not.”

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantine Chiwenga said the COVID-19 pandemic has left governments around the world without a foothold in the fight against HIV/AIDS, urging global health leaders to continue the fight.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, we were affected like any other country,” he said.

Zimbabweans have “totally forgotten” about HIV/AIDS in the fight against COVID-19, resulting in a vertical 8.9% increase in HIV infections in the country, as well as a recorded increase in mother-to-child transmission. It contains.

“Let’s come up with concrete measures to ensure that the spread of HIV/AIDS is halted,” he said.

Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos said: “This group of leaders is united by a solemn pledge and a clear plan of action to end AIDS for children once and for all. Nothing is a higher priority. .”

UNAIDS believes progress is possible, as 16 countries and territories have already obtained certification to limit mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

HIV and other infections can be transmitted during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but prompt treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for at-risk mothers can impede that process.

Last year, Botswana became the first African country with high HIV prevalence to be verified as on track to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV. Botswana’s vertical transmission rate has gone from 10% for him ten years ago to 2% for him today.

Dr. Assery Mchomvu, senior obstetrician and gynecologist at Mission Mikocheni Hospital in Dar es Salaam, said women of reproductive age in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Health Policy Watch.

“HIV-positive women have more opportunities to pursue fertility goals and fewer outcomes,” Mchomvu said.

But the fight against HIV/AIDS will only be won if there is a coordinated global response to curb new infections and ensure unrestricted access to treatment for those already affected. I said I can.

broad support

2021, 65,000 dead According to UNAIDS data, 1.5 million people have contracted the deadly virus from AIDS-related illnesses. Although the number of deaths has declined over the past decade, the number of new infections has virtually plateaued.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) welcomed the commitment of its leaders and pledged the full support of government agencies. “Every child has the right to a healthy and hopeful future, but that future is threatened for more than half of children living with HIV.

Peter Sands, Executive Director global fundsaid that no child will be born with HIV in 2023 and no child will die from AIDS-related illnesses. “Let’s use this opportunity to work together to ensure that the action plan approved today translates into concrete steps,” Sands said.

“We fund HIV programs in more than 100 countries through our country-led partnership model. , supports HIV prevention and treatment programs for children and adolescents.”

Dr. John Nkengason, director of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said closing the treatment gap for children would require “focus and holding governments and other partners accountable for the consequences.” “We need a firm commitment to

“PEPFAR raises the challenge of children with HIV/AIDS to the highest political level nationally and nationally, addressing the social and structural challenges that hinder rights, gender equality, and access for children and their children to prevention and treatment services. We are committed to mobilizing the necessary support to address social barriers: families,” said Nkengason.

“We have ensured that human rights, community engagement and gender equality are the pillars of our alliance,” said Lillian Mwoleko, Executive Director of the International Community of Women Living with HIV in East Africa. rice field. “We believe a women-led response is key to ending AIDS in children.”

Image credit: Peter Mugongo.

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