Ending Mother to Child Transmission of HIV - eMTCT
The Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive focuses on reaching pregnant women living with HIV and their children – from the time of pregnancy until the mother stops breastfeeding. The Plan's main targets are:
- Reduce the number of new HIV infections among children by 90 per cent
- Reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50 per cent
Exceptional global and national efforts are needed in countries that are home to nearly 90 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV in need of services. Intensified efforts are also needed to support countries with low HIV prevalence and concentrated epidemics to reach out to all women and children at risk of HIV. The Global Plan supports and reinforces the development of costed, country-driven national plans.
The Global Plan was developed through a consultative process by a high level Global Task Team convened by UNAIDS and co-chaired by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and United States Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby. It brought together 30 countries and 50 civil society organisation, private sector partners, networks of people living with HIV and international agencies to chart a roadmap towards achieving this goal by 2015.
This plan covers all low- and middle-income countries, but focuses on 22 countries with the highest estimates of HIV-positive pregnant women.
Progress toward achieving eMTCT in Eastern and Southern Africa
In recent years, countries have made great strides to strengthen HIV-prevention efforts. In 2009, in Southern Africa, some 130,000 infants were newly infected, a reduction by 32 per cent compared to 2004, largely as a result of scaled-up Prevention of Mother-to-Child Prevention (PMTCT) interventions. WHO estimates that in 2010 around 100,000 new infections were averted globally, thanks to existing PMTCT programmes.
However, many pregnant women, particularly in rural areas in Eastern and Southern Africa, still do not have access to health centres offering these services. Among those who attended antenatal care in 2009, on average only 50 per cent received an HIV test. Of those testing positive, 68 per cent received antiretroviral treatment to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies, up from only 19 per cent in 2005.
This regional average, however, masks huge disparities. Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, for example, already achieved coverage rates of more than 85 per cent, while in Angola, Burundi and Ethiopia less than 20 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled in PMTCT programmes. And in countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe more than 80 per cent of women received single-dose Nevirapine in 2009 rather than a more efficacious antiretroviral regimen.