NEW DELHI, India, 30 November 2009 – The Fourth Stocktaking Report, produced by UNICEF, in partnership with UNAIDS, WHO and UNFPA was released today in New York. The annual report examines data on progress, emerging evidence, case studies of best practices and current knowledge and practice for children as they relate to the ‘Four Ps’:
- Preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV
- Paediatric HIV care and treatment
- Preventing HIV infection among adolescents and young people
- Protecting and supporting children affected by HIV and AIDS
Some of the key points from the report are summarised below:
Children are now much higher on the global AIDS agenda and we see a major shift in commitments including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Board decision to increase support for PMTCT. Children and families are highlighted in the new UNAIDS Outcome Framework and PEPFAR’s commitment to the 80 per cent universal access target for PMTCT.
India has received extended support from the Global Fund for prevention-of-parent-to-child-transmission (PPTCT) through the Rolling Continuation Channel Round 2.
Since 2005, many lives have been saved or improved as evidence is used to tailor responses and maximise both scale up and quality. Interventions such as combination prevention efforts with young people, early infant diagnosis of HIV and antiretrovirals (ARVs) for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV are now an integral part of the global HIV response.
In terms of results we have seen substantial increases in access to PMTCT. In 2008, in low- and middle-income countries, 45 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV received antiretroviral drugs to keep them from passing the virus to their babies.
That represents an increase from 35 per cent in 2007 – and from just 10 per cent in 2004. We need to focus on harmonizing actions within maternal, newborn and child health services and making community-based interventions integral to national scale-up plans.
In India, as of September 2009, approximately 6,437 centres were providing PPTCT services. Under the PPTCT programme, almost 3.7 million pregnant women were counseled and tested in the country in 2009. India reported 10,673 women receiving ARV prophylaxis in 2008 out of an estimated 49,000 positive pregnant women.
To be effective, paediatric HIV care and treatment need to become an integral part of infant and child survival and health programmes. Many countries have made progress in access to early infant diagnosis but a positive diagnosis of HIV on its own does not guarantee a child access to life-saving treatment.
Loss to follow-up of mothers and children after birth represents both avoidable child death and a massive loss of investment as children identified as in need and who have been referred to services do not access them. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in India is planning to roll out the early infant diagnosis by 2010 in 700 integrated counseling and testing centres (ICTC) across the country.
The current economic crisis is likely to worsen poverty in households, which in turn negatively affects children’s wellbeing, reducing households’ ability to cope with additional stress.
Child-sensitive social protection is a key intervention to reaching children affected by AIDS. It can support poor households to cope and reduce the risk of chronic poverty, which drives children into orphanages, can prevent hazardous child labour and other forms of abuse, as well as supporting greater access to health and education.
In India, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) is rolling out the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) aimed at creating a child protection system to promote the best interests of the child and prevent violations of child rights.
Its objectives include: contribute to the well being of children in difficult circumstances (including those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS), and to a reduction of vulnerabilities that contribute to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children.
The ICPS will provide preventive, statutory and care and rehabilitation services to vulnerable children (including children infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS).
The Fourth Children and AIDS Stocktaking Report can be accessed at http://www.uniteforchildren.org/
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