UNAIDS and the Millennium Village project(MVP) are calling on the international community to increase their funding in the fight against mother –to- child (MTCT) HIV transmission in sub Saharan Africa. Speaking today in Nairobi UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe and Jeffrey Sachs the special Advisor to United Nations secretary General Ban ki-moon on millennium development goals, called on the international community to turn their promises to help Africa fights HIV/Aids to reality by providing fund for the millennium developments Goals.
UNAIDS director Michel Sidibe said only scaling –up a full packaged of intervention to prevent mother –to-child HIV transmission in Kenya would avert 16,000 new HIV infection among children and that the figure could be higher in other parts of Africa depending on the poverty index the country. Michel said it was important to have resource mobilization to help in preventing the mother to child transmission just like in the developed world which has almost to zero cases of mother to child transmission. “We have seen that it is possible to virtually eliminate HIV infection in high-income countries through HIV testing of pregnant women and the use of antiretroviral drugs during and after delivery. Transmission rates have fallen from 25% to 1-5% in recent years”, Michel added.
On his part, Mr. Jeffrey Sachs said access to HIV test early during pregnancy enable women living with HIV/AIDS benefit from the necessary intervention to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their children. Special advisor to UN Secretary General Jeffrey Sachs said the MVP projects were bound to stimulate economic growth in rural Africa Currently, the programs run in 12 African countries but cover a few districts in each country. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, and Liberia are some of the countries that have reaped from the project.
Sachs said plans were at an advanced stage to bring Cameroon and Benin on board as part of the expansion plans to cover as many areas as possible.The program is expected to run until 2015, before the funding levels are renewed even as the project implementers embark on a fresh mission to push for increased funding. Currently, the project receives $30 billion annually and targets about 5,000 households who get at least Sh4,500 for MVP activities, he explained. UNAIDS estimates that in sub Saharan Africa,134,000 cumulative new HIV infection have been avert in the last 12 years through the use of ARVs and prophylaxis by HIV-positive pregnant women and the number can go higher if only the international community come to rescue and help Africa achieve MDGs.
The partnership between UNAIDS and MVP focuses specifically on a achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 (reduce child mortality) and goal 5(improve maternal health) and goal 6(combat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria). UNAIDS and Millennium Villages projects joined forces last September to strengthen prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services level with aim of creating “MTCT-free zone.”
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