Newly Revised Handbook on Care for Children with HIV/AIDS in Africa Launched at 16th ICASA Meeting

December 7, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Eric Kilongi

December 7, 2011, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The African Network for the Care of Children Affected by AIDS (ANECCA) launched its newly revised “Handbook on Pediatric AIDS in Africa” at a satellite panel today at the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA).

Through the financial support of USAID/East Africa and technical support from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), ANECCA has created a second edition of this highly influential and sought-after handbook. The 2011 edition reflects the latest guidelines, information, and experience from the past six years of HIV/AIDS programming in Africa.

Written by leading experts on paediatric HIV and AIDS in the African context, the handbook will serve as a practical and timely resource for all categories of health care workers involved in preventing paediatric HIV infection, and caring for children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Sub-Saharan Africa is currently home to 90 percent of the world’s new HIV infections in children. Over the past decade, technology for early infant diagnosis of HIV has been made available across the continent, allowing for the identification and treatment of HIV-infected children. Without early treatment, half of all children with HIV will not survive to their second birthday. Despite this urgent need, only an estimated 28 percent of HIV-infected children were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) last year, highlighting the pivotal role of the handbook as a practical tool that guides both practice and programming.

“This handbook has been and will continue to be a powerful tool for preventing, diagnosing, and treating HIV infection in children in Africa,” said Nathan Tumwesigye, Chair of the ANECCA Board. “ANECCA is fully engaged with the Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive, and this handbook will provide a tool for practitioners and program implementers to achieve this goal. ANECCA looks forward to continuing to work with multiple partners to ensure that it gets into the hands of the health care workers who need it.”

ANECCA published the first edition of the handbook in February 2005. At that time, there were no tools or information for the care of children with HIV in the African setting, and the handbook quickly became an indispensible guide for African practitioners. Available in both English and French languages, the handbook was widely utilized across the continent. An accompanying training curriculum has been used to train thousands of front-line health care service providers.

“The current enthusiasm and commitment shown by the international community to virtually eliminate new paediatric HIV infections and reduce HIV-related maternal and childhood mortality is good news for children and families living with HIV in Africa,” said Denis Tindyebwa, Director of Pediatric Care and Treatment at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “This handbook provides a practical and simple tool for service providers at all levels to reach the children and women in need of services for prevention and treatment of HIV.”

The launch of the handbook at ICASA in Addis Ababa was made possible thanks to EGPAF and the generous support of ViiV Healthcare.

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About the African Network for the Care of Children Affected by AIDS (ANECCA):
ANECCA was established in 2001 in response to the grow¬ing recognition that in Africa, the needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS had largely been neglected. To address this problem, ANECCA brings together health care service providers, researchers and managers committed to promoting increased access to quality HIV services (prevention, care and treatment) for children in the Africa region. The Network’s efforts are targeted at harnessing and leveraging existing local resources to achieve this goal. For more information, visit www.anecca.org.

About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation:
The Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV and AIDS, and has reached nearly 13 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently works at more than 5,600 sites in 16 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute strategic and targeted global advocacy activities in order to bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide.