UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and partners organized a global alliance to save children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed on the August 2nd, 2022, in a joint news release with The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), that Nigeria has joined an alliance that aims at ending AIDS in children globally, by the year 2030. According to WHO, the alliance is aimed at making sure that HIV infected children receive proper treatment, without denial, by the end of 2030, and the prevention of new infant HIV infections at the same time.
According to global records, approximately 1.7 million children below the age of 15 are living with HIV. The transmission of HIV in children is originated from their parent at birth. The child could get exposed to the virus while in the womb, during the process of childbirth, or when breastfeeding. The virus causes harm to the immune system, destructing the ability of the body to fight infections and a few types of cancer.
HIV infected children are at higher risks of other infections.
Furthermore, given that children do not have fully developed immune systems, they become ill after being infected with the HIV virus, and it gets severe when they contract common pediatric infections. Their inability to fight disease causing microbes efficiently, put them at risk of other infections such as ear infections, sinus infections, intestinal illness, skin disease, pneumonia, sepsis (a severe blood infection), meningitis (inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord), and a likelihood of developing cancer; they also usually tend to have a less positive look.
The standard and recommended treatment for HIV is ART. It is recommended by practitioners for people of all ages, adults and children. Early treatment is also advocated by experts, because it helps children live a longer and healthier life. Children who are too young to swallow a pill are prescribed the liquid form of ART by doctors. Also, health experts recommend that infants who contract the virus in the womb get the ART treatment with urgency to prevent death.
The global alliance will be active for the next eight years.
The alliance, tagged “Global Alliance for Ending AIDS in Children by 2030” was birthed to build HIV-free lives for children and as a result of the deep concern about the huge gap between the percentage of children and adults with HIV. The global alliance is therefore brought together by UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, and partners to see to it that by the end of 2030, no child infected with HIV is denied treatment, and to ensure the prevention of new infant HIV infections.
The newly organized global alliance will be active for the next eight years, that is, until 2030. It will run with the sole aim of achieving the amendment of a very visible disparity in the AIDS response. Members of the alliance are in one accord as to the belief that the challenge, which is the reason for the organization of the alliance, is surmountable through partnership. The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in relation to the issue on ground, stated that “No child should be born with or grow up with HIV, and no child with HIV should go without treatment.”
The alliance is an opportunity to renew commitment to children.
In addition, the Global Alliance to End AIDS in Children is considered as a chance to rebuild nations’ commitment to children, aid unity with their families, to speak and to act in accordance with the reason of the alliance and in solidarity with every mother, child, and adolescent. The Nigerian Minister of Health, Osagie Enahire, added that there will be a change in the lives of children that lack treatment, by establishing systems to cater for the needs of children living with HIV.
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