by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
The transmission of HIV to babies, post-birth, from their own mothers is increasingly becoming an issue worldwide. This significant increase is now seeing strategies put in place to prevent this from happening on a much broader scale worldwide.
According to UNAids data more than 35 million adults and children are living with HIV globally, highlighting that it is indeed a disease which is of significant concern to health organisations.
With many ways for the disease to phyiscally be transmitted, monitoring HIV has become a struggle for many.
In Papua New Guinea, 3.6% of total transmission statistics are accounted for via mother-to-child transmission. This is according to the transmission statistics from the Department of Health in its Operational Plan 2011-2015.
Like Papua New Guinea, Cuba has long been fighting to eliminate mother to baby transmission of HIV and syphilis. In its fight, Cuba, with support from the World Health Organisation in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation, have executed an elimination initiative. This initiative included early access for pregnant mothers to prenatal care, tests and drug treatmen’s to avoid passing the disease from mother to baby.
After years of executing the initiative, Cuba has succeeded in eliminating its mother to baby transmission of HIV.
According to World Health Organisation Director General Margaret Chan, “it is one of the greatest public health achievemen’s possible”. Adding on, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation, Carrisa Etienne said “Cuba’s achievement today provides inspiration for other countries to advance towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis”.
This successful initiative is a major innovation for Cuba in its campaign to eliminate the disease, and can be tested out by countries that are fighting to create healthy, happier and AIDS free conditions.