UNICEF and its partners recognize that the prevention of HIV/AIDS is critically important to the survival of children and women. The Country Programme strives to intensify the prevention of HIV infection among children, while advocating for increased access to pediatric care and treatment for HIV-positive children.
The project for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and Pediatric Care has two aims: to scale up the quality of PMTCT service delivery for HIV-positive pregnant women, as part of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS, and to enhance care for HIV-positive children.
The expected results will include increased access to prophylactic anti-retroviral drugs to 80 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women and a 40 per cent reduction in the number of new pediatric infections in the intervention zones of the Country Programme. The project will also focus on the training of health staff in the intervention zone in voluntary, confidential counseling and testing; focused antenatal care and lifesaving skills; safe infant feeding practices; laboratory diagnostic techniques; and the provision of essential supplies (tests kits, drugs and equipment, etc.). Support to the referral level to ensure linkage to overall anti-retroviral treatment and home-based care, and support for monitoring and supervision will be key components of the project.
UNICEF works with local and international NGOs, other UN agencies, the Government of The Gambia and civil society organizations in the Global Campaign for Children and AIDS. The President, Alhagie Dr. Yahya Jammeh launched the Global Campaign in 2005. In addition, the First Lady, Madam Zineb Jammeh, launched The Gambia Chapter of the Organisation of African First Ladies against AIDS, the First Lady strongly and the organization advocates for pediatric care and treatment and fight to remove stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.
As part of the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS, UNICEF supports the education of children and adolescents, in HIV/AIDS prevention and other important skills necessary to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
If children within the ages of 10-12 years, the so-called ‘window of hope’, are properly educated on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and protect themselves from it, then they have the power to have a positive impact on the epidemic. This can reverse the increasing, devastating trend that claims the lives of millions of people each year in sub-Sahara Africa alone.
The Life Skills project supports the government’s education strategic plan for the education sector’s accelerated response to HIV and AIDS prevention through schools. The project also works towards giving adolescents 14-19 years old the correct information and relevant skills and services to reduce HIV risk and vulnerability, nationally.
Children and AIDS: Third Stocktaking Report, 2008