News / Africa

World AIDS Day: Saving Mothers, Saving Babies

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

The recent UNAIDS global report cited significant progress in preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.  It says there have been fewer infections and fewer deaths among women and their newborns.  One organization has played a major role in that success.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation currently operates 5,000 sites in 17 countries.  That’s up from a mere eight locations 10 years ago, when it started its international program.

Still a long way to go

Dr. Laura Guay (Gay), the foundation’s vice president of research, says, “We’re very happy to see the new report that we’ve made significant progress in the last five years with the scale-up of services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission globally.  Whereas in 2004, only about 10 percent of pregnant women had access and were receiving antiretroviral drugs to protect their baby from HIV, in 2009 that number has gone up to 53 percent. “

Mother, nurse and baby in PMTCT program
Mother, nurse and baby in PMTCT program

But Guay says thousands more pregnant women still need access to HIV prevention services.

“We still have a long way to go.  Forty-seven percent of women still do not have access.  So, while we celebrate the progress that’s been made in the last five years, we look forward to accelerated progress in the next few years so that we can reach the remaining women,” she says.

With a lot of effort, it can be done

Health officials, she says, foresee a time when the effort to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) will have succeeded and the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV will be eliminated.

“In order to do that, it requires a concerted effort from multiple parties and partners.  And very specifically, ministries of health in countries have really gotten behind the message that this is possible for their populations and have invested in making PMTCT a priority for their health programs,” Guay says.

There’s also been a great deal of international support from PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNAIDS, among others.

But following the global economic crisis, funding isn’t as free flowing as it once was.

Dr. Guay says, “I think it’s a challenge for all of us to figure out how to do what we’re doing more effectively with a more cost-effective system, to evaluate models of service delivery.  Look at ways we can improve the efficiencies of our programs.  To look at making sure that these are done in a way that we can get the most effect out of the limited resources we have possible.”

She says before these programs were available, many women had lost hope of having a child that was not infected with HIV and feared that they, too, would succumb to the disease.

“Yet, we see then that these women are able to get supportive services.  They’re having HIV negative children.  And those women are then becoming the spokespersons for both the (health) ministry, the facilities and in their community, saying that, you know, this is what can happen if you access the services,” she says.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation supported programs account for 25 percent of the services available worldwide to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs