Cameroon Joins Global Alliance To End Aids In Children


The first ministerial meeting of the Global Alliance to end AIDS in children took place recently in Tanzania with Ministers and representatives from twelve African countries committing themselves to ending AIDS in children by 2030

Currently, around the world, a child dies from AIDS related causes every five minutes, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO. Only half (52%) of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults of whom three quarters (76%) are receiving antiretrovirals. In 2021, roughly 160 000 children newly acquired HIV.

Children accounted for 15% of all AIDS-related deaths, despite the fact that only 4% of the total number of people living with HIV are children. 

Faced with these disturbing trend, Ministers and representatives from twelve African countries have committed themselves, and laid out their plans, to end AIDS in children by 2030. This was at the first ministerial meeting of the Global Alliance to end AIDS in children which took place recently in Tanzania. At the gathering, international partners have set out how they would support countries in delivering on those plans. The meeting marks a step up in action to ensure that all children with HIV have access to life saving treatment and that mothers living with HIV have babies free from HIV.

The Alliance will work to drive progress over the next seven years, to ensure that the 2030 target is met. In partnership with networks of people living with HIV and community leaders, ministers laid out their action plans to help find and provide testing to more pregnant women and link them to care. The plans also involve finding and caring for infants and children living with HIV.

“Tanzania has showed its political engagement, now we need to commit moving forward as a collective whole,” said Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Philip Mpango. “All of us in our capacities must have a role to play to end AIDS in children. The Global Alliance is the right direction, and we must not remain complacent. 2030 is at our doorstep,” he said. To the First Lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos: “This gathering of leaders is uniting in a solemn vow – and a clear plan of action – to end AIDS in children once and for all.” “There is no higher priority than this,” she said.

The twelve countries with high HIV burdens that have joined the alliance in the first phase 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.

Their work will centre on the following four pillars: early testing and optimal treatment and care for infants, children, and adolescents; 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. UNICEF welcomed the leaders’ commitments and pledged their support. "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. "We cannot let children continue to be left behind in the global response to HIV and AIDS. Governments and partners can count on UNICEF to be there every step of the way. This includes work to integrate HIV services into primary health care and strengthen the capacity of local health systems."

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