Myanmar commits to reaching zero new HIV infections in children by 2015
29 October 2012
Myanmar’s Minister of Health, Professor Dr. Pe Thet Khin, says his ministry is committed to working towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers healthy to raise them. Minister Pe Thet Khin jointly announced this commitment with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé in a meeting on 27 October in Mandalay.
“The Ministry of Health believes that by 2015 children in Myanmar can be born free of HIV and their mothers can remain healthy to raise them,” said Minister Pe Thet Khin. “This plan is realistic, achievable and supported by evidence. Preventing new HIV infections among children is a smart investment that saves lives and helps to give children a healthy start in life. This will be achieved through scaling up testing services and providing drugs that are simple and safe to all pregnant women who need them.”
With treatment from early in pregnancy through the breastfeeding period, the risk of transmitting HIV from a mother living with HIV to her child can be less than 5%. Myanmar’s National AIDS Programme has been gradually scaling up its HIV prevention services for pregnant women. In 2011, 84% of the estimated 3700 pregnant women living with HIV received antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. However, less than a third of pregnant women are currently tested for HIV. Myanmar health authorities plan to decentralize HIV testing services to reach more pregnant women.
The Ministry of Health believes that by 2015 children in Myanmar can be born free of HIV and their mothers can remain healthy to raise them
Myanmar’s Minister of Health, Professor Dr Pe Thet Khin
“I congratulate Myanmar on its commitment to reach an AIDS-free generation by 2015,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “I am sure if resources are made available to Myanmar, the country will reach its ambitious goal and I call on donors to support the Ministry of Health.”
Mr Sidibé and Minister Pe Thet Khin called on international donors and other partners to work with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health to maintain the achievements made so far and to expand HIV prevention and treatment services for key affected populations.
The two leaders also spoke about country ownership and sustainability of health programs. The health system in Myanmar is undergoing reform. Mr Sidibé suggested applying the “three ones” principle for health: one costed national health plan; one national health sector coordination mechanism; and one national monitoring and evaluation system that all development partners follow.