By: Chioma Umeha
Nigeria has been identified as number one country in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest number of children with HIV, recording nearly 60,000 new infections in 2012. A report from the United Nations AIDS programme, on Tuesday, implicated the country as among the seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa where progress has been stalled since 2009.
The report stated that some countries, which were among 21 priority countries in Africa, have witnessed a reduction in the number of new HIV infections in children by 50 percent since 2009. Specifically, the report said there is reduction in the number of new HIV infections in children by 50 percent since 2009 in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s worst-hit region in the global AIDS epidemic. But, it added that Nigeria is one of the two countries where new infections in children have increased and remained unchanged since the review period.
The next is Angola. According to the United Nations AIDS programme reports, “seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s worst-hit region in the global AIDS epidemic, have cut the number of new HIV infections in children by 50 percent since 2009.” The dramatic reductions – in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia – mean tens of thousands more babies are now being born free of HIV, UNAIDS said in a report on its Global Plan to tackle the disease in around 20 of the worst affected countries.
The report further read: “Overall, across 21 priority countries in Africa, there were 130,000 fewer new HIV infections among children in 2012 – a drop of 38 percent since 2009 – mostly due to increased drug treatment of pregnant women with the virus.” Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS’ executive director, said, “The progress in the majority of countries is a strong signal that with focused efforts, every child can be born free from HIV. “But progress has stalled in some countries with high numbers of new HIV infections. We need to find out why and remove the bottlenecks which are preventing scale-up.”
This story was published in Newswatch Times on June 26, 2013.