By Nation Reporter
IMPROVING pediatric HIV diagnosis in infants and children is the first critical step to increase the number of infants and children who will access life-saving treatment at the early stage, says Ministry of Health acting permanent secretary John Moyo.
Dr Moyo said this in Lusaka at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) launch of four projects in a speech read on his behalf by its clinical care specialist Crispin Moyo pledged that the Government would endeavour to partner with EGPAF until every infant and child was secured from AIDS.
He expressed gratitude to EGPAF continued support to offer technical assistance for the improvement of Zambia’s HIV/AIDS programs to advance the elimination of pediatric HIV/AIDS.
“Improving paediatric HIV diagnosis in infants and children is the first critical step to increase the number of infants and children receiving life-saving treatment.
With these highlights of the project, as a Ministry we continue to work in partnership with EGPAF, until no child has AIDS,’’ he said.
And EGPAF country director, Zambia Priscilla Banda expressed hope that it was possible to have a free HIV/AIDS generation through vigorous initiatives, advocacy and sensitisation.
Ms Banda said that it was unfortunate that 150,000 children in Zambia were living with HIV, a situation which affected their general development such as access to education.
She said that the project aimed at testing 30,000 children older than 18 months, 1,290 HIV positive linked to care and treatment services and 1,103 HIV positive children initiated on Anti-retral therapy (ART).
Ms Banda named the new projects as UNITAID, ELMA, Hilton and Elton John AIDS Foundation all aimed at better combating the HIV/AIDS scourge more effectively and efficiently.
The UNITAD-EGPAF project is a U$63million, which is a four-year-award from 2015 to 2019 which is aimed at optimising early infant diagnosis (EID) in nine countries, including Zambia.