The Uganda government and representatives from over eleven African countries have committed themselves to ending HIV/AIDS in children come 2030.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the international partners have set out how they would support countries to implement the plans which were issued at the first ministerial meeting of the Global Alliance to end AIDS in children.
A statement released by WHO on Monday 1st February 2023, states that African leaders made the commitment in the meeting held in the United Republic of Tanzania and it marks a step up in action to ensure that children with HIV have access to life saving treatment and mothers living with HIV have babies free from HIV.
“Every child has the right to a healthy and hopeful future, but for more than half of children living with HIV, that future is threatened,” said UNICEF Associate Director Anurita Bains.
Peter Sands, the Executive Director of the Global Fund said that children cannot be left behind in the global response to HIV and AIDS stating that governments and partners should wake up and join the move.
“In 2030, no child should be born with HIV, and no child should die from an AIDS-related illness. Let’s seize this opportunity to work in partnership to make sure the action plans endorsed today are translated into concrete steps and implemented at scale,” Sands said.
Delegates also stated that there is a need to adopt a grounds-up approach with local, national and regional stakeholders taking ownership of the initiative, and engagement of a broad set of partners.
According to the statement, work will center on four pillars which include early testing and optimal treatment and care for infants, children, and adolescents.
Another pillar will focus on closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV, to eliminate vertical transmission.
Preventing new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women and addressing rights, gender equality and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services are also going to be areas of focus for the commitment to end AIDS in children.
The 12 African countries committed include Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.