Ethiopia launches nat’l plan to prevent new HIV infections among children
Addis Ababa, December 4 (WIC) – The government of Ethiopia on Sunday December 4, 2011 launched a national plan to prevent new HIV infections among children.
The plan dubbed “National Accelerated Plan for Scaling up Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Service in Ethiopia was launched in collaboration with partners.
The national accelerated emergency plan is aimed at reaching 90 percent of pregnant women with access to antenatal care services; ensuring that all pregnant women have access to delivery by a skilled attendant and providing antiretroviral prophylaxis to at least 80 percent of HIV positive pregnant women.
“With this plan, we are stepping up our efforts to reach many more millions of mothers and babies with PMTCT services in the next four years to ensure an HIV-free generation in our nation,” said Health Minister Dr Tedros Adhanom, who launched the plan at a press conference in Addis Ababa together with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
Dr Tedros said Ethiopia has made a significant progress in reducing rate of new HIV infections by 25 percent between 2001 and 2009.
Despite progress in the national HIV response, only 9.3 percent of the pregnant women who are eligible for HIV services are currently receiving treatment.
According to government estimates, approximately 1.2 million people were living with HIV in Ethiopia including about 90,000 pregnant women.
“Through this new national plan, I am confident that Ethiopia will succeed in eliminating new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive,” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said on the occasion.
U.S Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby commended the government of Ethiopia for its commitment towards the global pal for the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.
“PEPFAR has a long history of working hand in hand with the government of Ethiopia and we will continue to support Ethiopia’s commitment to the scale up of PMTCT,” Ambassador Goosby added.
Director General of the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO), Dr Betru Tekle, on his part said the overall aim of the national plan is to ensure at all pregnant women living with HIV have access to HIV prevention and treatment services, and that new HIV infections among children are eliminated by 2015.
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