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Building healthy systems for children

Dec 24, 2009

A collaborative publication by UN organisations led by UNICEF, Children and AIDS: Fourth Stocktaking Report, 2009, highlights the progress and challenges made in meeting targets for HIV prevention among women and children. It calls for concerted action and renewed commitments amid economic difficulties to reverse the epidemic.

Children and AIDS: Fourth Stocktaking Report, 2009

Publisher: UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO and UNFPA, December 2009

Years ago, when the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on children was just becoming apparent, there was no way to imagine an AIDS-free generation in the foreseeable future.

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In 2005, the epidemic’s consequences prompted UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other partners to launch Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS, a global campaign to focus attention and resources on mitigating the worst effects of HIV and AIDS on children and young people.

Four years into this effort, many lives have been saved or improved because national governments, non-governmental organisations, local communities and international organisations have been examining the evidence and responding. The prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a global objective.

This report points out that combination of prevention –behavioural, structural/ social and biomedical approaches can help to reduce HIV prevalence among young people. AIDS-sensitive, rather than AIDS-exclusive, interventions are being embraced in many places to benefit children affected by AIDS.

Antiretroviral (ARV) regimens for the prevention of motherto- child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV are now reaching 45% of HIV-positive pregnant women globally.

The number of children receiving paediatric ART continues to increase. But the life-saving imperatives of early testing and initiation of treatment are not yet standard in most countries.

Progress on many prevention indicators related to young people has been slow as reported in this publication. While work to assist orphans and other vulnerable children is increasingly funded, it is often constrained by weak systems and poor coordination. The economic crisis that emerged in 2008-09 has also raised concerns about how assistance for women and children will be sustained and expanded to reach universal access targets.

Though some progress has been made in collecting disaggregated data, in many places there still are not enough details to strategically target programmes or assess their efficacy. Equity should be both a premise and an outcome of programming.

Families, local communities, national governments, nongovernmental organisations and international institutions have shown they have the will and capacity to reverse the epidemic. It is now time to follow through on these commitments.

Source : UNICEF
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