News

Africa And World AIDS Day: Preventing Pediatric AIDS

Saturday, December 1, is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. According to the United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, there were 33 point two million people living with AIDS in 2007, including two point five million children. Over 28 million of them are in Sub-Saharan Africa. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “leadership”. 

Pamela Barnes is president and chief executive officer of the U.S.-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Her organization has been working with African governments to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and treat children and families affected by the disease.

From Johannesburg, South Africa Barnes explains to VOA what her organization is doing to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I do think that we’ve been able to provide a sense of hope to so many people with the program that now gives us the ability to prevent mother to child transmission and programs that provide medicine to people who are HIV positive. But all of the work that we do in countries with ministries of health requires leadership from within the countries. And that to me is going to be a very critical part about our ability to be able to expand the program to reach the people who need the services,” she said.

Barnes said the kind of leadership that is required includes people taking the initiative to be tested for HIV/AIDS, including national leaders.

“Let me give you this example. I was in Tanzania in September of this year, and I learned, when I was visiting very rural clinics in northern Tanzania, I learned that President Jakaya Kikwete, the president of the country and the first lady went on national television and were tested on national television for HIV. And as I was traveling out to rural clinics in northern Tanzania, I was learning from the doctors and nurses that the numbers of that came forward to be tested increased significantly after the president and first lady went on the television to be tested themselves. That’s leadership,” Barnes said.

She said her organization has been working with African governments to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and to treat children and families affected by the disease.

“The primary focus of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a program that allows us to train health care providers, to treat pregnant women who are HIV positive and to help them have HIV-negative babies. If a mom has a baby who is HIV-positive, we then can provide mom, baby and family with the critical anti-retroviral drugs necessary to help them live health lives,” she said.

Barnes, who is in Africa to visit her foundation’s work in 14 African countries, said her organization’s work has been made possible mostly with support of President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“Keep in mind that 70 percent of the people in the world living with HIV are in Sub-Saharan Africa.  So here where the disease is much prevalent, we’ve made much great progress in the last three to five years in being able to provide antiretroviral drugs. And the main impetus for that program has come from the funding of the United States government, providing anti-retroviral treatment and training people for them to be able to get those medicines to women, children and families where the disease is most prevalent,” Barnes said.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs