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Tanzania, United Republic of

UNICEF Executive Director visits Tanzania with Executive Director of UNAIDS to spotlight impact of HIV/AIDS on children

© UNICEF Tanzania/2006/Kwitema
Dr. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director, Ms. Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director and HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium are received by the President of Tanzania, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, at State House in Dar es Salaam.

By Patricia Lone

KIGAMBONE, Tanzania, 16 February 2006 – The village of Kigamboni was decked out in bright colours to welcome HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot with drama and displays.

The three were on the first day of their joint mission to spotlight the impact of HIV/AIDS on children in Tanzania, a follow-up to the Global Campaign on Children and AIDS.

Crying out that her baby will die without treatment, a young actor depicted the dilemma facing all too many women in Tanzania, finding themselves confronted with positive results from an HIV test on their first antenatal visit. The play showed the young woman begging her husband for money and permission to return to the clinic for preventive treatment for her unborn child. He refused, because of poverty, stigma – and his own denial of HIV.

© UNICEF Tanzania/2006/Kwitema
Performers in Tanzania describe the impact of living with HIV/AIDS to Ms. Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director and HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

Kigamboni is one of the lucky villages where women and men now have access to Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services. The new PMTCT wing opened in January this year. It offers counselling, testing and treatment.

Overall only 334 sites offer PMTCT at present. These include referral, district and regional hospitals and fewer than ten per cent of the nearly 4,000 community-based health centres. It's estimated that only seven per cent of infected pregnant women have access to PMTCT. An estimated 40,000 children become infected with HIV each year in Tanzania, either during their mother’s pregnancy, labour or during breastfeeding. More PMTCT services are critically needed to reduce this number.

Speaking “not only as a UNICEF and UNAIDS Special Representative, but also as a mother,” HRH Princess Mathilde said how deeply touched she and the members of the joint mission were by their visit to the village. She said how happy she was to see the health centre providing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission to women in Kigamboni. “I can only hope that soon all pregnant women in Tanzania can benefit from the same services,” she added.




16 February 2006:
UNICEF correspondent Rachel Bonham Carter reports on UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman’s official visit to Tanzania.

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