26 November 2007

SA to meet MTCT HIV targets

South Africa is on track to meet a United Nations target for reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) by 2010, said Unicef on Sunday.

South Africa is on track to meet a United Nations target for reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) by 2010, said Unicef on Sunday.

"South Africa is one of 17 low- and middle-income countries that are set to achieve the... target of reducing mother-to-child infections by 50 percent," read a 2007 report by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) on PMTCT, paediatric HIV care and treatment in low- and middle-income countries.

In South Africa the PMTCT programme had been expanded to cover 90 percent of public health facilities. More than 32 000 children with HIV had started antiretroviral therapy by September 2007.

Not getting the best treatment?
Yet, the department of health has come in for some severe criticism over its reluctance to implement WHO endorsed treatment regimens for the prevention of MTCT.

Last week, Nathan Geffen of the Treatment Action Campaign told Health24 that "It would be straightforward for the minister of health to give the go-ahead to provinces to improve upon the single-dose nevirapine regimen. Yet she has not done this."

The report would be presented in Johannesburg on Monday at a two-day Global Partners Forum on PMTCT organised jointly by Unicef, the World Health Organization and 18 other partner organisations.

Health Department spokesman Sibani Mngadi said representatives of four regions affected by HIV/Aids - Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Latin America - were expected to attend.

Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland were the only other African countries on the list that included countries such as Brazil, Russia and Thailand, read the report.

127 000 kids on ARVs
Unicef reported that by December 2006, 127 000 children were receiving antiretrovirals world wide.

Mngadi said: "We want to offer a comprehensive package of care and treatment to those who are infected and affected. The health of women and children is our priority." – (Sapa/Health24)

Read more:
Manto stepping up Aids fight?
How things got so bad

November 2007


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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