News / Health

African Conference Calls for Strengthening Mother-to-Child HIV Programs

HIV positive child, Gift, no second name provided, is given some jam prior to her ARV medication by a caregiver near Durban South Africa, November 2010 (file photo)
HIV positive child, Gift, no second name provided, is given some jam prior to her ARV medication by a caregiver near Durban South Africa, November 2010 (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +

Delegates from 15 African countries have concluded a workshop in Kenya's capital to discuss how to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  They agreed to support new and existing programs that would see this goal being accomplished by 2015.

World Health Organization Family and Reproductive Health Director Tigest Ketsela said more than 85 percent of children in the world living with HIV/AIDS are located in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily because of mother-to-child transmission.
She said health-care systems in many African countries are so weak that even if medical facilities are there, HIV-positive women and their children fall through the cracks.

"It is not only enough to have health facilities, health services, but do we have the appropriate human resources, do we have the right kind of medications and so on," said Ketsela. "The other issue is with health-information systems. Again, we do not have information as to how many people come, how many are we targeting, how many get the services, and where are we going wrong?"

Most of the three-day meeting looked at how countries are falling short of preventing HIV-positive pregnant women from passing the virus onto their babies.

For example, in many places, health-care systems are not implementing WHO guidelines that outline the proper use of anti-retroviral therapies for pregnant and breast-feeding women, and for infants exposed to HIV.  In addition, counseling services for HIV-positive mothers may be missing or the counselors not properly trained, and there may not be enough anti-retroviral drugs to go around.

UNAIDS Senior HIV Prevention Advisor Helen Jackson said another prevention strategy is often overlooked.

"At the moment the emphasis is much more on identifying women with HIV who are pregnant and who need anti-retroviral treatment to protect their babies. If we can avoid the unintended pregnancies amongst HIV-positive women, then far fewer (HIV) positive women will be becoming pregnant. There is a huge number of unintended pregnancies at the moment," said Jackson.

She said strategies to prevent pregnant women from becoming HIV positive during their pregnancies also are inadequate.

Workshop delegates urged governments to implement Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission programs that have been tested on a small-scale. These include: making AIDS drugs and Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission services widely available at the village level, levying a tax on airline travel to fund those programs, and implementing the new WHO guidelines for drug therapies.

They also agreed to support existing plans to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, on reaching isolated and rural populations, strengthening health services for mothers and children, and improving services, drugs and the use of infant prophylaxis.

Delegates say in all countries, Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Programs should be included in routine antenatal and reproductive health services, as well as child-health services.

They urged all pregnant women and their partners to be tested and counseled for HIV during the first antenatal care visit.

UNAIDS has called for the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid