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Reducing the level of mother to child HIV transmission. New studying programme for future medics

Zhytomyr, 9 February 2011 - UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in cooperation with the Ministry of Ukraine and Zhytomyr Nursing Institute opened the first nationwide training centre for prevention of mother to child HIV transmission. Trainings will highlight the principles of diagnosis, treatment and psychosocial support for people living with HIV.

"The new training program - is an important step in ensuring the ongoing education of teachers of medical schools I - II accreditation levels teaching them how to treat HIV-positive pregnant women and their newborn children. This is particularly important nowadays as the role of medical workers in consulting and ensuring adherence to prophylactic antiretroviral therapy for HIV-positive pregnant women is growing” - said the Director of the Strategic Studies Institute of Health in Ukraine Gennadiy Slabkiy at opening of the centre.

Ukraine has made significant progress reducing HIV transmission from mother to child from 27% in 2000 to 6% in 2007, which is an outstanding achievement. One of the components of success is the appropriate training of those who implement program activities in hospitals.

"Until recently, training programs for health workers were provided mainly by international donors. At the same time, recognizing the importance of a systematic approach to human resources, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine underlines the need to include a course called "Prevention of Mother to Child HIV transmission” into the studying programme of medical schools at all levels of accreditation”, said Alexander Volosovets, Head of Education and Science Department in Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Tetyana Tarasova, UNICEF HIV/AIDS Project Manager, noted that the program of prevention of mother to child HIV transmission (PMTCT) is one of the priority programs of UNICEF in Ukraine. "Cooperation between UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine has given positive results in HIV prevention among children in recent years. With the assistance of UNICEF, PMTCT materials were incorporated into studying programmes of medical universities. There was also a textbook published. Lectures in departments of paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology in medical universities have been gone through special training ", noted Tetyana Tarasova.

UNICEF helped to equip centres with modern facilities and teaching materials. To prepare future trainers, a package of teaching materials including presentations was prepared.

"A joint project of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the Department of Health Zhytomyr Regional State Administration includes teaching more that 380 lecturers from different departments of medical colleges from all regions of Ukraine at seven-days training cycles. An important element of training is practical sessions at the Regional Centre for Prevention and Fight against AIDS," said the rector of Zhitomir Nursing Institute Victor Shatilo.

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Editor’s Note: Ukraine is the most seriously HIV-affected country in Eastern Europe. 0.86 per cent of Ukraine’s population live with HIV. Sexual transmission is a main way of HIV spreading and causes the "feminization" of the epidemic. The number of HIV-positive children is also increasing. Starting from 1987 HIV-positive mothers gave birth more than 24 thousand children, out of which 2418 are HIV-positive, status of 6222 babies who are under 18 months is pending and 268 have died from AIDS.

About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 190 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997.

For further information please contact:
Tetyana Tarasova, HIV/AIDS Project Manager, UNICEF Ukraine; +,



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