|John Galbraith, President of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, and Peter McDermott, UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS Chief, after signing the partnership agreement.|
NEW YORK, USA, March 1, 2006 - UNICEF and the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) signed an agreement today to collaborate globally to expand the reach of programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and provide paediatric care and treatment.
Children have been largely missing from the global HIV/AIDS response. According to global estimates, 660,000 children are in need of antiretroviral treatment, but less than five percent have access to life-prolonging anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs). In addition, only one percent of children have access to cotrimoxazole, an effective antibiotic drug that can reduce the risk of mortality in HIV-infected children by almost half.
Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV can occur during pregnancy, labour, delivery, and breastfeeding and contributes to over 90 percent of the estimated 700,000 new HIV infections in children annually. Currently only 10 percent of women have access to PMTCT services. The partnership is an important contribution to scale-up both PMTCT and paediatric care and treatment services towards the goal of universal access by 2010.
Both organizations will leverage their networks so that more effective services can be delivered for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Specific areas of collaboration will include advocating with national governments and partners for increased access for children to services; mobilizing and leveraging national and external resources; facilitating training of health and community workers; and helping countries to secure appropriate medications and test kits for diagnosis and treatment of women and children.
CMMB will strengthen UNICEF’s reach into local communities, through its close relationship with faith-based organizations, to ensure that families and communities are better able to promote and provide services for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, including those who are most hard to reach.
Paediatric AIDS treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission are two of the four key pillars of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS: UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE AGAINST AIDS. The other two are primary prevention of infection among young people, and protection, care and support of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. The campaign was launched by UNICEF, UNAIDS and other partners in October 2005 to bring much needed attention and resources to efforts to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on children.
HIV/AIDS campaign links