Namibia reaches key milestone in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and hepatitis B  

Namibia reaches key milestone in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and hepatitis B  

Windhoek – Namibia has grow to be the primary nation in Africa – and the primary high-burden nation on this planet – to succeed in a major milestone on the trail in the direction of eliminating vertical mother-to-child transmission of each HIV and viral hepatitis B. 

Japanese and Southern Africa is residence to greater than half the world’s HIV burden and Africa accounts for 2 thirds of recent hepatitis B infections globally. Namibia is residence to greater than 200 000 individuals residing with HIV and new infections disproportionately influence females.  

Progress is feasible. Globally, 2.5 million kids have averted vertical transmission of HIV since 2010, 28 000 of whom are in Namibia. HIV testing amongst pregnant ladies is nearly universally obtainable throughout the nation and entry to therapy has led to a 70% discount of vertical transmission within the final 20 years. In 2022, solely 4% cent of infants born to moms residing with HIV acquired the virus. Virtually 80% of infants acquired a well timed start dose of hepatitis B vaccine, one of many key metrics of success on the trail to elimination.   

Namibia has built-in main well being care with antenatal, youngster well being and sexual and reproductive well being providers. The federal government dedicated secure home finance to nationwide well being programmes, providing broadly accessible, high quality and freed from cost medical providers and assist.  

Based mostly on specified standards, the World Well being Group (WHO) has awarded Namibia “silver tier” standing for progress on decreasing hepatitis B and “bronze tier” for progress on HIV. Namibia’s achievement follows a concerted technique to curb the transmission of hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis. WHO’s Triple Elimination Initiative goals to safeguard the well being of moms and youngsters and affirm the rights of each youngster to be born free from the burden of those viruses. 

“It is a landmark achievement by Namibia that demonstrates the life-saving prospects of dedicated political management and efficient implementation of public well being priorities,” stated Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “With concerted efforts, we will speed up progress to succeed in the objectives of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis – the triple elimination.” 

The validation course of, led by WHO in collaboration with UNICEF, UNAIDS and UNFPA, evaluates information and standardizes milestones for eliminating illnesses. Amongst different components, WHO certifies a rustic as having attained silver tier standing when the hepatitis B vaccine is given to 50% or extra new child infants. Bronze certification is awarded to nations which have decreased the vertical transmission of HIV from mom to youngster to lower than 5%.  

“In lots of nations we’re failing our youngsters by not reaching them with the identical therapy with which we attain their moms and different adults,” stated Anne Githuku-Shongwe, UNAIDS Regional Director, East and Southern Africa. “Namibia has fought in opposition to this injustice and we’re proud to rejoice their immense effort to go away no youngster behind. They function a beacon for your complete area.” 

The triple Elimination Initiative promotes an finish to vertical transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B virus, all of that are prevalent in low- and middle-income nations. It encourages nations to combine providers, utilizing a person-centred method to enhance well being outcomes for moms and youngsters. 

“Namibia has met this milestone by taking a really built-in method to the HIV response from early on,” stated Etleva Kadilli, UNICEF Regional Director for Japanese and Southern Africa. “The nation has not addressed HIV in isolation as a single illness, however as a part of a broader well being and improvement agenda, encompassing maternal and youngster well being for all. Namibia has reached moms and their kids, even in probably the most rural areas.” 

Namibia’s first Nationwide Elimination Technique was initiated in 2014, adopted by the Nationwide Roadmap to Elimination of HIV and syphilis in 2020, with viral hepatitis B added later. Namibia established a multisectoral Nationwide Validation Committee, according to WHO steering, for elimination of the three illnesses. 

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