Esther Maulani and Karen Mhlanga
Government is determined to end HIV and syphilis in children by 2030 as the nation moves to become a middle income economy.
Speaking at the National Validation Committee, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Constantino Chiwenga (in a speech read on his behalf by Deputy minister Dr John Mangwiro) said they were making strides to decrease mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis by 2030.
VP Chiwenga said the coronavirus had worsened the rate of mother to child transmission because the mothers found it difficult to get medical help during the lockdown.
“Of the 38 million people living with HIV in the world, 1,356 million are Zimbabweans.
“It is sad to note that 84 295 of people living with HIV are children between the ages of 0 – 14 years more than 90 percent of these children were infected through mother to child transmission,” Dr Mangwiro said.
He said mothers had to receive antenatal care while children had to receive post delivery care.
“World Health Organization has come up with initiatives for countries to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
“Zimbabwe has embraced the initiative as we are determined to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis to less than five percent.
“According to the United Nations AIDS and HIV statement, the mother to child transmission is still high at 8, 17 percent in 2019,” he said.
Dr Mangwiro gave their strategies to achieve their goal which say that every pregnant woman should be tested in order to prevent the transmission.
“According to the World Health Organization criteria 95 percent or more of pregnant women need to book their pregnancies and 95 percent of them or more should be tested for HIV.
“Meanwhile more than 95 percent of pregnant women who have tested positive should be initiated on anti- retroviral treatment.
“To eliminate congenital syphilis sickness less than 50 new cases for congenital syphilis should occur for every 100 000 live births.”
“Syphilis treatment coverage in 2019 was low at 8 percent and this is disappointing considering that syphilis is an old sexually transmitted infection and is curable.
“Let us challenge ourselves more as we work to end AIDS in children by 2030,” said the Dep Minister.