Malawi Opens First Pediatric AIDS Center
The Government of Malawi, the Abbott Fund and the Baylor College of Medicine on Thursday in the country's capital Lilongwe opened Malawi's first pediatric AIDS center, Reuters South Africa reports (Reuters South Africa, 11/2). The first lady of Malawi, Ethel Zvauya Mutharika, and other dignitaries at Kamuzu Central Hospital opened the clinic (Abbott Fund release, 11/2). The $2.2 million center was financed by a grant from the Abbott Fund's Global AIDS Care program and the clinic also will be supported by the fund (Baylor College of Medicine release, 11/2). The 13-member clinic staff aims to treat 1,300 HIV-positive children by the end of 2006. According to Reuters South Africa, the center's health workers treated 62 HIV-positive children on the first day (Reuters South Africa, 11/2). "As a mother, the health concerns of the children of Malawi are particularly close to my heart," Mutharika said, adding, "I am grateful for the support of the Abbott Fund and Baylor for building this new clinic, which will provide mothers with hope that their children can be effectively treated for HIV and live normal, healthy lives" (Abbot Fund release, 11/2). Malawi Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunje said the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative, which was established in 1996, provides hope for HIV-positive children in Malawi. "We have not had the capacity to help address the complex needs of the thousands of children with HIV in Malawi, but now this clinic will help government scale up its activities," Ngaunje said at the clinic's opening. According to officials, there are about 83,000 children living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi, and 900,000 children have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses. Six percent of the 50,000 HIV-positive people living in Malawi who receive antiretroviral drugs are children, Reuters South Africa reports (Reuters South Africa, 11/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.