First Look

Launch of the National Paediatric AIDS Elimination Initiative



Ministry of Health (NERHA) | 2012-12-20 00:00:00

As part of national efforts to eradicate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis by 2015, Jamaica will on December 21, 2012 officially launch its National Paediatric AIDS Elimination Initiative at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston starting at 8:30am.

The main objective of this new initiative is to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Jamaica over the next 3 years by ensuring the rate of mother to child transmission of HIV is equal to, or less than 2% (0.3 cases per 1000 live births), and the incidence rates of congenital syphilis equal to, or less than 0.5 cases per 1000 live births.

“Since 2002, Jamaica has been able to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV from 25% to less than 5% through appropriate interventions. These interventions encompass access to antenatal care, HIV counseling and testing in pregnancy, early infant diagnosis among others,” said Dr. Kevin Harvey, Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Harvey under whose purview the National HIV/AIDS Programme falls, also noted that “without these interventions transmission of HIV from mother to baby may occur in the womb during pregnancy (20-25%), during labour and delivery (60-70%) and after delivery through breastfeeding (10-15%)”.

He also said that the Ministry of Health has great confidence in working with the University of the West Indies and the Regional Health Authorities given the institutions were previously engaged in a similar initiative. “From 2002 to 2011, the joint partnership successfully led the management of Jamaica’s Program of Prevention and Treatment and Care of HIV/AIDS in Pregnant Women, Infants, Children and Adolescents (JaaPPAAIDS) through a grant initially from the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation and then subsequently the Global Fund. The National Paediatric AIDS Elimination Initiative will extend this former Global Fund project”.

Continuing, Dr. Harvey said that under the National Paediatric AIDS Elimination Initiative follow-up patient care for HIV infected mothers and their babies will continue at the island’s major obstetric hospitals and clinics. The project will be funded through a grant from the NHF.

The Launch will bring together key stakeholders from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), University of the West Indies, the National Health Fund and other organizations to share in an all-day affair ending at 4pm.




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