Monthly Archives: July 2013

Kenya: 30,000 Children Targeted in Polio Campaign

THE government aims to immunize at least 30,100 children in Bondo district during the five-day polio vaccination which begins today.

The vaccination programme coordinator Ann Okoth said the door to door exercise will target children from the age of 5 years and below.

She appealed to parents and guardians to ensure all eligible children get the vital immunization. She was speaking yesterday during a preparation forum ahead of the exercise.

Okoth lamented that some parents had a tendency of denying their children access to such important services, and therefore warned that such cases will not be tolerated whatsoever.

She said the vaccination team was prepared to traverse the district including the islands of Mageta, Sifu, Ndeda and Oyamo to ensure that no child is left out during the exercise.

Okoth cautioned the parents to be wary of criminal elements who may take advantage of the exercise to rob residents by impersonating vaccination officials. “Our team will be provided with certified accreditation from the Ministry,” she added.

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Timor-Leste: Maternal Mortality Crisis

DILI, 8 July 2013

Greater efforts are now needed to tackle the many challenges women     face in accessing health care in Timor-Leste, which has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios (MMR) in the world, experts say.

“Although there are 2.3 health workers for every 1,000 people, which meets the international minimum standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the quality and competency of these health professionals is questionable given the training available and shortage of trained doctors,” Jannatul Ferdous, a maternal and child health adviser at HADIAK, a locally implemented health project, working with the Ministry of Health, told IRIN.

“The main problems with providing emergency and child health services include the poor quality of health service providers, the shortage in trained health professionals and the logistics involved in accessing services,” Ferdous said.

According to a recent report entitled Trends in Maternal Mortality, only 30 percent of women give birth with a skilled birth attendant present.

Seventy percent of the country’s 1.1 million inhabitants live in remote areas.

“Health-seeking behaviour is one of the major issues, reflected by a low utilization of health services for antenatal and postnatal care. Some factors for low utilization of health services include concern about the availability of drugs; availability of healthcare providers, especially female health providers; distance to health facilities; and concern about getting permission to go for treatment from husbands and other family members,” Hongwei Gao, country representative for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), explained.

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Namibia Winning HIV Fight

July 2013:

Namibia is rank as one of only seven countries – out of the total of 22 sub-Saharan countries – that made “a marked increase in progress in stopping new infections in children,” as part of the UN Global Plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015.

Namibia has reduced new HIV infections among children by 58 percent since 2009, according to the UNAIDS progress report released yesterday. Together with Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Namibia is one of the countries that “have rapidly decreased new HIV infections among children by 50 percent.”

The Global Plan is an initiative by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar), unveiled in June 2011 during the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS. The report has two main targets to be achieved by 2015, which is to have a 90 percent reduction in the number of children newly infected with HIV, and a 50 percent reduction in the number of AIDS related maternal deaths. The Global Plan focuses on 22 countries that account for 90 percent of all new HIV infections among children. Among those countries are India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Chad, Angola, Uganda, and Burundi.

The report shows that the number of new HIV infections among children in Namibia in 2012 was 700. One out of ten pregnant women living with HIV did not receive antiretroviral medicines to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, the report highlights.

Meanwhile, four out of ten women or their infants did not receive antiretroviral medicines during breastfeeding to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, the report indicates. The report also reveals that 13 000 children were eligible for antiretroviral therapy in 2012 and that nine out of ten children are receiving HIV treatment.

In 2009 the HIV transmission rate from mother to child including breastfeeding was 19 percent and it has decreased every year since then, to reach 9 percent in 2012. Although there is a marginal increase in the number of women who acquired HIV from 2009 to 2012, the number of women acquiring HIV infection is largely constant, the report indicates. In 2009, 4 700 women reportedly acquired HIV and increased to 5 100 in 2012, while 94 percent of all pregnant women are receiving HIV treatment, according to the report.

The report hints that that improved access to family planning could further reduce the number of new HIV infections among children and improve maternal health. About 59 percent of pregnancy related deaths were attributed to HIV. In addition, there is a 21 percent unmet need for family planning, the report adds.

Countries reported to have achieved a moderate decline are Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Those with reported slow declines are Angola, Chad, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Nigeria.

UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé said the progress in the majority of countries is a strong indication that with focused efforts every child can be born free from HIV. “But in some countries with high numbers of new infections progress has stalled. There is a need to find out why and remove bottlenecks, which are preventing scale-up,” Sidibé said.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Norbert Forster on Monday said over 92 percent of public health facilities in Namibia are providing prevention from mother to child transmission (of HIV) services. Forster made the remarks at the launch of Namibia’s first national public health laboratory policy.

“Namibia is actually at the threshold of eliminating mother to child transmission. I commend all the women, especially those in far remote rural areas, often with no transportation to take them to health facilities, for all their efforts to access prevention from mother to child services,” Forster said.

[Courtesy of AllAfrica News]