HIV National Forum : Stakeholders Re-examine Paediatric Care

This is during a two-day forum opened yesterday by the Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manaouda.

In Cameroon, eight out of 10 HIV pregnant women receive treatment in order to avoid the transmission of the disease to their new born babies. Information further reveals that although these women might continue treatment after delivery, there are usually little or no chances to ensure that they take treatment for their babies, which might be HIV positive. Within the backdrop of ensuring that children with HIV are properly managed and cared for, the second national forum for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and the management of HIV in children and adolescents began holding in Yaounde yesterday, September 10, 2019 under the theme: “Enhancing collaboration between health facilities and the community for PMTCT and the Management of HIV in children and adolescents to achieve the 90- 90 -90 target by 2020 in Cameroon.” For two days, the UNICEF Country Representative, Jacques Boyer said they will take stock of the progress accomplished since the last forum in 2016, in the area of the prevention of mother-to-child- Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), as well as paediatric HIV. Three years ago, Jacques Boyer said the level of paediatric HIV and antiretroviral coverage was 10 per cent for infected children. But as of now, the figures have doubled to 20 per cent. However, this is still very low, he noted. But in the area on the prevention of Mother-to-child- Transmission of HIV, the UNICEF boss said Cameroon has made enormous progress in curbing the transmission of HIV from Mother-to-child. Particular about this forum is the relation between the health personnel and the community. This is because according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Country Director, Savina Ammassari “if we focus only on the health staff, we will not be able to reach the 90-90-90 objective for 2020 fixed by UNAIDS and adopted by Cameroon.” In 2014, Savina Ammassari said UNAIDS and partners launched the 90–90–90 targets. The aim was to diagnose 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.

The Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manaouda, while opening the forum said, it was a platform to discuss and share experiences on paediatric HIV. More especially to appreciate what has been done in managing paediatric HIV which is still a major problem in the country as 5.8 per cent children are HIV positive as compared to 5 per cent last year. While reiterating that lots have been done as far as mother-to-child HIV transmission is concerned, Malachie Manaouda underscored that there was need for participants at the forum which comes from varied professional backgrounds amongst which, the scientific community, medical staff, administrative authorities (traditional and religious leaders) as well as the civil society, to come up with new recommendations so that the 90-90-90 strategy of UNAIDS will be achieved in the fight against HIV amongst children and adolescents

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