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By Kwakwarhi Mwanamai

LILONGWE CITY, Malawi, 25 October 2005 – “I find the launch very fitting and necessary to us as a nation because it places the child at the centre of our fight against AIDS,” said Minister of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services, Hon. Joyce Banda, at the Malawi launch of UNITE FOR CHILDREN  UNITE AGAINST AIDS.

The launch featured a panel discussion with government officials, representatives of UN agencies, members of the donor community, young people and journalists.

UNICEF Representative in Malawi Aida Girma noted that the country has made significant progress in its response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as demonstrated by a growing commitment to fighting the disease. However, she noted that very little of these resources are reaching Malawian children.

“Less than five per cent of the more than 30,000 receiving antiretroviral treatment are children,” said Ms. Girma, “and last year less than nine percent of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics received services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.”

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