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Uganda among countries with low rates of HIV infected newborns

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 1st February 2017 03:50 PM

Ondoa said that Uganda is down from having 28,000 HIV infected babies in 2011 to 3,500 in 2016 and has been ranked among the top countries in the world to have the greatest leap towards elimination of MTCT.

Uganda among countries with low rates of HIV infected newborns

Ondoa said that Uganda is down from having 28,000 HIV infected babies in 2011 to 3,500 in 2016 and has been ranked among the top countries in the world to have the greatest leap towards elimination of MTCT.

Uganda is among the top countries in the world with the lowest number of children born with HIV through Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT), the director general, Uganda AIDs Commission (UAC), Christine Ondoa, has revealed.

Ondoa said that Uganda is down from having 28,000 HIV infected babies in 2011 to 3,500 in 2016 and has been ranked among the top countries in the world to have the greatest leap towards elimination of MTCT.

The other countries to achieve such a global milestone are Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Belarus, Armenia and Swaziland. Cuba on the other hand became the first country to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV followed by Thailand.

"We have done a lot, but we still have a lot more to do to eliminate MTCT. We had 86% reduction of babies born with HIV/AIDS and this is the highest achievement in the whole world," she said.

Ondoa added that their major goal is to; by 2020 have a 100% reduction of mother to child HIV transmission from the current 86%.

She was speaking at the annual forum for HIV and AIDS focal persons in Uganda, held at Hotel Africana.

Vinand Nantulya, the chairman UAC said that they were able to achieve this reduction by teaching mothers the importance taking the HIV/AIDs test and abiding by expert advice from health workers.

Titus Twesige the country director Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDs in Africa (AMICAALL) said that as the country gears towards achieving zero new HIV infection by 2020, the focus should be majorly on tackling Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) in urban areas.

"Zero elimination of HIV should start with urban areas. Though it constitutes only 20% of the country's population it has the highest HIV prevalence rate at 8.3%," he said.

He said that there is need to create Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) awareness mostly among the young girls who are the most affected group.

The 2014, UAC HIV/AIDS situation analysis report revealed that 570 Uganda girls aged 15 to 24 get infected with HIV every week

Twesige said that there is need for a crackdown on drug use and alcoholism among the youths to scale down on the risks posed by such life styles on Uganda's young population. He stated that these vices have exposed the young population to HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Zepher Karyabakabo from UAC in his presentation on HIV/AIDs implementing partners rationalization in Uganda, said that there is need to strengthen quality of HIV counseling and services in emergency situations.

Catherine Kemigabo an HIV focal person from Kabarole district said that if mothers adhere to health workers' advice, Uganda will be able to eliminate MTCT by 2020.

"if mothers follow advice from the health workers like going for antenatal check-up as early as three months, testing for HIV/AIDS and taking ARVs during pregnancy, after delivery and for a lifetime, giving birth at health centres and adhering to exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, we can achieve this," she said.

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