Global Campaign on Children and AIDS comes to Russia
14 March, 2006, Cheliabinsk, Russian Federation. After the launches of the UNICEF Global Campaign “UNITE FOR CHILDREN. UNITE AGAINST AIDS” in New York and Moscow in October and November 2005, respectively, the Global Campaign came to the Ural Mountains - to Cheliabinsk, in the heart of Russia, one of the regions most affected by HIV (15,000 cases among adults, which makes for a prevalence rate 0.7%).
On March 14, 2006, Cheliabinsk hosted a conference to sum up the results of the first year of the project aimed at increasing the quality of medical and social services to women and children affected by HIV and of programmes addressing the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of the virus. The project is being implemented with UNICEF support in two regions of the Russian Federation, Cheliabinsk and Orenburg, with a population of about 3,000,000 each, out of which more than 15,000 live with HIV. The prevalence rate among the adult population exceeds 1% in Orenburg.
In 2005, the project contributed to the development and implementation of important policy documents on PMTCT and social support to HIV-infected women and children; to building the capacity of over 400 health and social workers; empowering peer counsellors and self-help groups of people living with HIV (PLWH); providing equipment to pediatric wards and children’s centres; and supplying over 60,000 booklets and posters for health workers and PLWH. One of the outcomes of the project is that PMTCT coverage increased from 57% (2004) to 77% (2005) in Cheliabinsk and reached 81% in Orenburg.
In Cheliabinsk, the reported rate of HIV transmission from mother to child dropped from 16% in 2004 to 5.6% in 2005. In the city of Novotroitsk (Orenburg region) PMTCT rate came down to 5.2% by the end of 2005.