WHO, CIDA Invest $12.1 M For Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization country representative for Zambia on Tuesday announced that WHO and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) had committed 15 million Canadian dollars ($12.1 million) to nine African countries including Zambia for interventions for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com reports (Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com, 4/22).
During the mid-term review meeting in Zambia of CIDA and WHO regional grants for the scaling up of PMTCT, "WHO Country Representative Olusegun Babaniyi said over 90 percent of the 1,200 children who acquire HIV every day worldwide get it through mother-to-child transmission," according to Xinhua/The People's Daily Online (Xinhua/The People's Daily Online, 4/22). He added that the infections could be prevented through PMTCT scale-up, according to the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com.
In a speech read for him by his deputy Mwendoi Akakandelwa, "Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao said Zambia had an adult HIV prevalence rate of 14.7 percent and that the estimated prevalence rate among pregnant women in antenatal setting was at 16 percent." In addition, roughly 82,000 women living with HIV give birth annually in Zambia, according to Simbao (Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com, 4/22).
Though the PMTCT program began in 2003 and has since expanded, the minister said the major challenge was ensuring the availability to nationwide services for all women in need, the Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com writes.
According to Xinhua/The People's Daily Online, "[Simbao] revealed that by the end of 2008, only 51 percent of HIV positive pregnant women were accessing comprehensive PMTCT services while 29 percent of estimated HIV exposed newborn babies received" antiretroviral prophylaxis (Xinhua/The People's Daily Online, 4/22).
The grant will help to expand the national plan that began in 2007 to provide comprehensive PMTCT services for 80 percent of pregnant women by 2010 (Times of Zambia/AllAfrica.com, 4/22).
The plan seeks to provide antiretroviral therapy services to at least 80 percent of children living with HIV (Xinhua/The People's Daily Online, 4/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.