More Children Born Free of HIV/AIDS in Lake Zone

By Rose Athumani | August 12, 2013
"More Children Born Free of HIV/AIDS in Lake Zone"


Bukombe, Aug 12, 2013 (Tanzania Daily News/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX News Network) -- PARENTS living with HIV in the Lake Zone have been equipped with knowledge on the possibility of not transmitting the virus to their newly born offspring.

Statistics from a number of care and treatment clinics (CTC) in various health centres in Shinyanga and Geita regions show that nearly 98 per cent of infants are now born free of HIV/Aids.

Thanks to a local organization, Ariel Glaser Pediatric Aids Health Care Initiative (AGPAHI), for extending care and treatment closer to rural communities in the regions. AGPAHI in collaboration with the government has been providing the communities with high quality HIV services to ensure their shared goal of eliminating pediatric Aids is well integrated to the existing regional and district health systems.

For instance, data from Bukombe District indicates that in 2011/12, only nine out of 109 new borns had HIV virus, meaning that 100 infants were born free from the virus.

"We are very grateful to the AGPAHI assistance which includes facilities, laboratory equipment, and trainings for health workers, among others, that are factors behind the successful story in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Care (PMCTC)" said Dr. Honoratha Rwezaura, CTC coordinator Bukombe District, Geita Region.

Briefing visiting journalists, Dr. Rwezaura said that besides the PMCTC success story, they were also happy that the HIV and Aids prevalence rate has declined from 7.8 per cent to 6.3 per cent in the period under review.

Although the disease prevalence rate in Bukombe has dropped, the district still leads in the region with an average rate of 4 per cent, threatening to ruin the achievement registered so far. Statistics from AGPAHI supported Maganzo dispensary in Kishapu District in Shinyanga Region also shows that a total of 122 infants were born free from the HIV virus, out of 138 babies who were born by HIV positive mothers.

Maganzo Medical officer incharge, Mr Sam Phillip said that without AGPAHI's support, the infants could have contracted the virus from their affected mothers. AGPAHI Executive Director, Laurean Bwanakunu said that at the moment there's no justification for infants to be infected from infected mothers or people living with HIV and AIDS to die anymore due to availability of life prolonging drugs.

AGPAHI is a local organization affiliated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (AGPAF) focusing on pediatric AIDS and health care. The NGO works with the ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other stakeholders to eliminate Pediatric AIDS.

The Organization supports efforts to increase access to and enrollment in a comprehensive package of sustainable, high quality and cost effective care and treatment services for HIV infected families in the areas including Family Planning and PMCTC.

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