Elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV campaign launched in Western Uganda

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Hoima, 27 March 2015:- The First Lady of Uganda Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, who is also the “Champion” of the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV/AIDS campaign has called upon men to be more cooperative in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She said this at the launch of the campaign for the Western Region held at Boma in Hoima district.

Mrs. Museveni said that collective effort was needed to win this battle, “nobody can do this alone, we need everyone who is willing, to provide a helping hand.”

The Minister of Health Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye, reiterated the first lady’s remarks and called for joint effort in fighting HIV/AIDS. He also highlighted the importance of family planning in EMTCT adding that that fighting HIV/AIDS was key in reducing transmissions to children.

The Executive Director UNAIDS Mr. Musa Bundugu, said that the UN was committed to working with the government to end the HIV scourge. He highlighted the need to strengthen the capacity of Health Centre II facilities, noting that they cater for most rural populations. He also encouraged political and religious leaders to come on board.

Ms Lisa Gordon, who represented the United States Ambassador to Uganda highlighted the need for concerted efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS as key. She said that all concerned parties must join hands, “no single district, donor, implementing partner, or government can do this alone.”

There are 14 districts in the western sub- region with an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 8.2% which is higher than the national prevalence of 7.3% while the Mother to Child Transmission prevalence is at 8%. As part of the accelerated global plan to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections and keeping mothers alive by 2015, Uganda adopted Option B+ in 2012, which is the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to HIV infected pregnant and breast feeding women. This is done for the rest of their lives regardless of the severity of the HIV infection in order to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV, based on the WHO 2010 consolidated guidelines on use of ARV.

According to the Ministry of Health the new policy guidelines focus not only on EMTCT, but also reducing mortality and morbidity among HIV positive women, and HIV exposed and infected infants.

The launch was well attended by government officials, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, religious leaders, district leaders, and the media.

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