Angolan government commits to ensuring all children are born free of HIV
09 October 2013
The Lucrecia Paim Maternity Hospital is one of Angola’s model clinics in providing access to antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women living with HIV to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies. The Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé visited the facility in Luanda on 8 October and called for greater efforts in reaching all pregnant women living with HIV and ensuring that all babies are born free of HIV in Angola. This came after several Angolan ministers made a strong commitment to scaling-up prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and treatment services.
Angola is one of 22 priority countries included in the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. While data from the Angolan government shows the percentage of pregnant women testing for HIV increased by 55% between 2009 and 2012, Angola is the only priority country where the number of new infections among children increased between 2009 and 2012.
Mr Sidibé met jointly with the ministers of Health, Education, Women, Defence, Youth and Sports, and Social Affairs and encouraged a multi-sectorial leadership to rapidly expand Angola’s response to HIV. The ministers committed to scaling-up HIV programmes to ensure all babies are born free of HIV and people living with HIV have access to treatment in Angola.
During his official two-day visit to Angola, Mr Sidibé also met with representatives of civil society and the private sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the Angolan AIDS response.
AIDS is more than a health issue. It is about justice, about gender and inequalities. It will take all of the government sectors to accelerate the AIDS response to make sure that no babies in Angola are born with HIV and that all Angolans have access to treatment.
The Government of Angola is ready to accelerate implementation of a national plan with the objective to reach zero new HIV infections among children by 2015.
This maternity hospital provides excellent care for women living with HIV. I delivered my first baby, who was born HIV-free at this hospital and I am here today on a follow-up visit for my second pregnancy.
Our objective goes beyond the philanthropic aspect of the work. We see our efforts on HIV and AIDS to combine human solidarity and a return on our investment so that our employees remain healthy and productive.