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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora