12 African officials met on Monday to support the Dar es Salaam Declaration on ending AIDS in Children, where they laid out concrete stratagem anchored on four pillars, among them are early screening and treatment for newborns and children.
The declaration forms part of the UNAIDS-led Global Alliance to End AIDS in children by 2030, with the first batch of members drawn from twelve high burden countries, namely Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
According to a statement released by the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, a child dies every five minutes from AIDS-related causes.
The UNAIDS program also reports that only half of the children living with HIV are receiving anti-retrovirals.
Dr. Peninnah Lutung, the Bureau Chief for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF,) said her organization welcomes attempts by leaders on the continent to strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS.
“We welcome this reinvigoration to strengthen Africa’s pediatric HIV/AIDS response, which was waned over the years and yet is an essential component for achieving global AIDS control,” said Dr. Lutung.
“For a continent with the highest population of young people in the world, safeguarding its future also requires the right systems, tools and actions in place to ensure that every child is born HIV-free and children and adolescents living with HIV have access to lifesaving treatment and care,” she added.
Dr. Lutung also said her organization will be working with African leaders to strengthen the continents response HIV/AIDS.
“We look forward to supporting the governments and relevant UN agencies’ efforts in making this commitment a reality given our presence in seven of these 12 countries,” said Dr. Lutung, adding, “we also hope to hold these leaders accountable in the future.”