The African Union (AU) and the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) on Monday launched a new campaign, aiming to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy.

The new campaign is expected to support the continent’s efforts to prevent new infections and childhood deaths.

The campaign, launched during the OAFLA General Assembly on the sideline of the 30th AU summit, aims to unite people and organizations at local and global levels to advance healthcare delivery that will contribute to ending childhood AIDS, according to the AU.

To achieve its goal, the campaign will first focus on 2020 global targets for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission as outlined in the AU’s catalytic framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030.

“While Africa has made unprecedented progress in responding to the AIDS epidemic, the response to childhood AIDS is lagging behind,” said Roman Tesfaye, first lady of Ethiopia and president of OAFLA.

“To end the AIDS epidemic in Africa, we must act now to prioritize the use of knowledge and the implementation of tools that exist, to keep children AIDS-free and their mothers healthy,” she said. “Preventing new HIV infections will transform Africa’s broader health and development agenda and provide our children with a healthy and hopeful future.”

There are up to 1.4 million children living with HIV in Africa south of the Sahara, which is over half of all children living with HIV globally, according to the AU.

Children are at greater risk of the potentially fatal consequences of HIV than any other age group, and detection and treatment levels remain low, said the AU.

Of the total number of children living with HIV, around 50 percent are not receiving treatment, and of these untreated children 50 percent die before they are 2 years old, it said.

The campaign will drive for increased investments to strengthen health systems and achieve maximum impact where the burden is highest, said Marie-Goretti Harakeye, who heads AU’s Division for AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases. Enditem


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