Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Global fund reports Significant progress in providing antiretroviral therapy and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Significant progress has been achieved in providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), but low antenatal care coverage and other health systems and gender-related challenges are hampering further progress on these fronts.

This is one of the observations of the Global Fund's "Update on Results and Impact" report published on the eve of the Fund's pre-replenishment meeting in Brussels, Belgium yesterday.
The report says while the number of new infections remains significant, HIV incidence and mortality are declining across the world adding that More than half the countries are on track to meet internationally agreed targets.
With respect to ART, the report says  among the 105 countries the Global Fund supports for which it has sufficient data, 41percent have met, or are on track to meet, the international target of universal access to ART by 2015.

In Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, the report says, ART coverage has at least doubled between 2007 and 2011 and Between 2009 and 2011, average ART coverage among the Global Fund's 20 high-impact countries rose from 39percent to 56percent.
So far, the report says, ten countries have reported reaching universal ART access and Seven of these countries experienced reductions in AIDS-related deaths of at least 50percent between 2005 and 2011. The report says nine of these countries report ART retention rates of at least 80percent; inadequate data on retention was available for the tenth country.
Regarding PMTCT prophylaxis, the report says, a third of the countries have met, or on track to meet, global targets by 2015.
By the end of 2012, Global Fund-supported PMTCT programmes had reached 1.7 million women in 84 countries and Almost 90 percent of these women were from sub-Saharan Africa with most of them being in the 22 so-called "high-burden" countries.
The results and impact report says four countries accounted for about 50percent of the numbers of women reached with PMTCT services which are Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
These countries reported coverage of ART for PMTCT of 51percent, 74percent, 86percent and 54percent, respectively.
As of 2011, the report says, five out of the 22 high-burden countries - Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia - had achieved at least 80percent PMTCT coverage adding that Of these countries, all but South Africa had achieved 80% coverage specifically of ART for PMTCT.
Among the eight countries that underwent grant reprogramming to step up PMTCT initiatives include Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
To achieve universal coverage, the report argues, several health system and gender challenges need to be addressed like iincreasing antenatal care coverage and needs to be combined with the delivery of PMTCT.
In addition, pregnant women need greater access to HIV testing and counselling services.

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