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)

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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid