The World Health Organisation has announced that Nigeria has joined an alliance aimed at globally ending AIDS in children by the year 2023.
The WHO stated that the alliance is targeted at ensuring children living with HIV are not denied treatment by the end of 2030 and new infant HIV infections are prevented by that time.
The global health agency disclosed this on Tuesday, in a joint news release with The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and United Nations Children’s Fund.
The WHO explained that the alliance named Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030 was brought about because of the disturbing concern regarding the wide gap between the HIV percentage of children and adults.
It added that the announcement of the alliance was made by leading figures at the International AIDS Conference that took place in Montreal, Canada.
“According to the data that has just been released in the UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022, globally, only half, 52 per cent of children living with HIV are on life-saving treatment, far behind adults where three quarters, 76 per cent are receiving antiretrovirals.
“UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and partners have brought together a global alliance to ensure that no child living with HIV is denied treatment by the end of the decade and to prevent new infant HIV infections,” it said.
“The alliance will run for the next eight years until 2030, aiming to fix one of the most glaring disparities in the AIDS response. Alliance members are united in the assessment that the challenge is surmountable through partnership,” it added.
The UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima said, “The wide gap in treatment coverage between children and adults is an outrage.
“Through this alliance, we will channel that outrage into action. By bringing together new improved medicines, new political commitment, and the determined activism of communities, we can be the generation who ends AIDS in children. We can win this – but we can only win together.”
Also speaking on the same note, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “No child should be born with or grow up with HIV, and no child with HIV should go without treatment.
“The fact that only half of the children with HIV receive antiretrovirals is a scandal and a stain on our collective conscience. The Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children is an opportunity to renew our commitment to children and their families to unite, to speak, and to act with purpose and in solidarity with all mothers, children, and adolescents.”
In addition to the UN agencies, the WHO said, the alliance includes civil society movements, including the Global Network of People living with HIV, national governments in the most affected countries, and international partners, including PEPFAR and the Global Fund.
The first phase of the alliance also comprises 11 other countries including; Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The global health agency further stated, “Consultations by the alliance have identified four pillars for collective action; closing the treatment gap for pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women living with HIV and optimizing continuity of treatment.
“Preventing and detecting new HIV infections among pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women; Accessible testing, optimized treatment, and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents exposed to and living with HIV; and Addressing rights, gender equality, and the social and structural barriers that hinder access to services.”
According to the WHO, the Minister of Health of Nigeria, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, vowed to change the lives of children left behind by establishing systems set up to ensure the needs of children living with HIV are adequately met.
He also announced that the country will host the alliance’s political launch in Africa in October 2022.
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