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Commentary & Opinion
Zimbabwe's Successful PMTCT Efforts Serve as a "Model" for Other Countries in Drive to Eliminate Pediatric AIDS

June 4, 2012

"Zimbabwe is one of the key countries to watch in the drive to eliminate pediatric AIDS in Africa," Chip Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, writes in this post in the Huffington Post's "Global Motherhood" blog, adding, "Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its international partners -- including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID), and most recently the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) -- have helped turn the tide of the pandemic in children." He writes, "In June 2011 at the United Nations, a Global Plan was introduced to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015," and notes, "Zimbabwe was among the first of many countries to answer the call."

Lyons highlights efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Zimbabwe, writing, "PMTCT has become a true HIV prevention success story in the country, averting thousands of new infections in children and helping identify those in need of urgent HIV treatment. From those three original sites, there are now 1,560 sites in Zimbabwe where pregnant women can go to protect their own health and their babies from HIV." He continues, "Many in the global community thought that large-scale HIV prevention and treatment programs couldn't be successfully implemented in the region," concluding, "Through this kind of political and financial commitment, Zimbabwe has become a model for the other 21 high-prevalence countries that are partners in the Global Plan to end pediatric AIDS. ... By committing to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Zimbabwe has ensured that its children will not only survive, but have the opportunity to thrive" (6/1).

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