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Thursday, 9 June 2016

WHO validates elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in four countries


World Health Organization (WHO) on 8 June 2016 recognised Thailand, Armenia, Belarus and Moldova for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.
The announcement was made in New York on the eve of the United Nations General-Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS. On this occasion, the representatives of these four countries were
presented with the certificate of validation for the accomplishments.
With this remarkable accomplishment, Thailand also became Asia and the Pacific region’s first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of both infections.
How the accomplishment was achieved?
• These countries have worked to ensure early access to prenatal care, HIV and syphilis testing for pregnant women and their partners.
• They also   provided treatment to women who test positive, as well as their babies.
• The provision of reproductive health information, the engagement of communities and outreach to marginalized populations, in a manner consistent with basic human rights and gender equality, has helped to facilitate such access.
The achievements are testament to a key factor – the integration of maternal and child health with sexual, reproductive health and HIV services. Integration underpins WHO’s new health sector strategies on HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and viral hepatitis, and is fundamental to the attainment of universal health coverage and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis is key to the global effort to combat sexually transmitted infections and to end AIDS by the year 2030.
Progamme to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis
In 2014, WHO and partners developed global processes and criteria to validate the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of both infections through a rigorous review of country progress.
As treatment for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission is not 100% effective, elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem.
On 30 June 2015, Cuba became the first country to be validated for having successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Background
In 2007, WHO launched the Global elimination of congenital syphilis: rationale and strategy for action. The strategy aims to increase global access to syphilis testing and treatment for pregnant women.
In 2011, UNAIDS with WHO and other partners launched the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015, and keeping their mothers alive. This global movement has galvanized political leadership, innovation and engagement of communities to ensure that children remain free from HIV and that their mothers stay alive and well.

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