Namibia Is the First Nation in Africa To Ban Mother-to-Child HIV and Hepatitis B Transmission

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Namibia Is the First Nation in Africa To Ban Mother-to-Child HIV & Hepatitis B Transmission
Mother-to-Child HIV and Hepatitis B Transmission

Namibia Is the First Nation in Africa To Ban Mother-to-Child HIV and Hepatitis B Transmission

Namibia has made historic progress in eradicating vertical transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis B, becoming the first nation in Africa and, in fact, the first high-burden nation worldwide.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) African Region Office declared this amazing achievement on Monday.
Mother-to-child spread of these diseases has long been a problem in Eastern and Southern Africa, which is home to more than half of the world’s HIV load. Namibia’s success is a ray of optimism and development against this background.

“Progress is feasible,” said WHO, pointing out that since 2010, 2.5 million children worldwide have been protected from vertical HIV transmission; 28,000 of these cases have occurred in Namibia alone. The fact that pregnant women can now get HIV testing and treatment easily has been crucial to this success, which has led to a startling 70% drop in vertical transmission over the last 20 years. Only four percent of Namibian infants delivered to moms living with HIV contracted the virus in 2022.

Namibia’s dedication to offering comprehensive healthcare services is evident from the fact that about 80% of newborns received the hepatitis B vaccination on schedule at delivery. Achieving these milestones has been made possible in large part by this integrated strategy, which combines basic healthcare with antenatal, child health, and sexual and reproductive health services.

Given Namibia’s achievements, WHO recognized the country with the “silver tier” designation for lowering hepatitis B and the “bronze tier” classification for reducing HIV. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, praised Namibia’s accomplishments as proof of its committed political leadership and effective implementation of public health.

Working with UNICEF, UNAIDS, and UNFPA, the validation process assesses data and sets uniform benchmarks for the eradication of diseases. The success of Namibia demonstrates the effectiveness of a person-centered approach to healthcare that tries to enhance the results for both mothers and children.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, the UNAIDS Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, applauded Namibia’s efforts and said they act as a model for the entire area in the battle against pediatric HIV. Etleva Kadilli, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, emphasized Namibia’s comprehensive HIV response, which includes maternal and child health within a larger development goal.

The Triple Elimination Initiative of the WHO seeks to protect the rights of every child to be born free from the burden of hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV while also ensuring the health of mothers and children. Several nations, including Belarus, Thailand, and Cuba, have been declared in recent years to have stopped mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Nigeria, in the meantime, is still dealing with serious issues, having the largest global burden of HIV-positive infants and a sizable population of chronic hepatitis B carriers. WHO continues to emphasize the need for integrated services and ongoing political commitment to accomplish the objectives of preventing mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, hepatitis B, and HIV.

Published by : Reshraman

 

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