Zim optimistic about Pediatric HIV elimination

The Zimbabwean government  says it is optimistic of meeting its five percent target in the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV by 2018.

By Hamu Madzedze

Addressing  journalists  at a  media  workshop  organised by  the  National AIDS Council in Macheke  , the  deputy national coordinator  for PMTCT , Pediatric  HIV  Care and  Treatment  in the Ministry  of  Health  and  Child  Care , Dr Solomon  Mukungunugwa said from the survey  conducted  last year  the  country  has reached 6.7%  in the elimination  of  mother  to child  transmission  of  HIV.

“These  results have  given  us  hope as a  country  that  the  five percent target is achievable and virtual elimination  of pediatric HIV is possible ” said Mukungunugwa.

The  deputy  coordinator  added  that once Zimbabwe reaches the  five percent target in  2018, the country  will be  able  to  apply for a formal validation of  its  achievements in the elimination  of mother to child  transmission  of  HIV

“Countries believed to have achieved the Elimination  of  Mother To Child Transmission  targets can apply for a formal validation of their achievements and  this is the  route  we  want to take ” said  Mukungunugwa.

Meanwhile  Doctor  Mukungunugwa  said   under  the Accelerated Action Plan for the National Scale-up of Infant, Paediatric and Adolescent ART in Zimbabwe 2015-2018 the  Ministry  of Health and  Child Care intends  to  expand the provision of quality and comprehensive integrated pediatric HIV testing, care and treatment

‘ This  will be  achieved  through ensuring  that HIV Exposed Infants HIV status is  known at 6 weeks, 9 months and 18 months  and increased to  90%” he said.

The  Prevention of  Mother  To  Child  Transmission  of  HIV programme  being spearheaded  by the  Ministry  of  Health  and  Child  Care  and  its partners  has been the major  reason  for the decline in the number  of children  being  born  HIV positive in Zimbabwe.