MDG Summit Zeroes in on Ending New HIV Infections in Children
New York City
September 22, 2010
Eliminating pediatric AIDS has been front and center at several meetings this week in New York as part of the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
, with the Foundation taking an active role in this critical discussion.
talked about the importance of programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), and how they are linked to reducing child mortality (MDG 4), improving maternal health (MDG 5), and combating HIV/AIDS (MDG 6).
Dr. RJ Simonds speaks during a panel session on lessons
learned from the global response to HIV/AIDS.
Photo: Global Health Council
On Sunday, Dr. RJ Simonds, Foundation Vice President of Program Innovation and Policy, took part in a panel discussion to review lessons learned in the HIV/AIDS response
, and how they contribute to achieving the health-related MDGs. Dr. Simonds drew upon his decades of experience at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
to show how PMTCT programs have helped strengthen national health systems and reduce maternal and infant mortality. The training of health workers and lay counselors for PMTCT was cited as one example that has improved the health of women and children over the past 10 years (see video of discussion at end of post).
On Tuesday, several sessions were convened by UNICEF
, and others to discuss the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Dr. Ric Marlink, Foundation Senior Advisor for Medical and Scientific Affairs, participated in one such event, discussing the Foundation’s experience integrating PMTCT programs into broader health systems
He served on a panel that examined Bostwana’s experience taking an integrated approach to combating HIV, combining a range of health services in one facility and in one visit. This streamlining has shown a measurable effect: Botswana’s Vice President, Mompati S. Merafhe, pointed to a drop in new HIV infections and a reduction in infant deaths.
Dr. Ric Marlink is interviewed by Global Health TV following his
participation in a panel discussion during the MDG Summit.
Photo: Global Health Council
Botswana is also one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa where there is almost universal PMTCT coverage, pointing the way forward for other nations to end new infections in children.
Following the panel, Dr. Marlink was interviewed by Global Health TV
about his participation in the panel and the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
At another event, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake observed, “Even a few years ago, in a place like South Africa or Zambia or Ethiopia, an HIV diagnosis during pregnancy was more than likely a double death sentence for mother and baby. But that has begun to change.”
He and other panelists throughout the day agreed that while great progress has recently been made, there is still an urgent need to reach the more than half of women globally who don’t have access to PMTCT services.
“We need to focus our efforts on scaling up the practical, cost-effective, community-based interventions that are best designed to reach the women and children in greatest need,” Lake added.
Read more about the Foundation’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals
through the elimination of pediatric HIV and AIDS.
Part 03- Looking Back, Looking Ahead Panel from ITSy BITSy Media on Vimeo.
Robert Yule is the Foundation’s Media Manager in Washington, D.C., and is blogging this week from New York at the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals.