The Lucrecia Paim Maternity Hospital is one of Angola’s model clinics in providing access to antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women living with HIV to prevent the transmission of the virus to their babies. The Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé visited the facility in Luanda on 8 October and called for greater efforts in reaching all pregnant women living with HIV and ensuring that all babies are born free of HIV in Angola. This came after several Angolan ministers made a strong commitment to scaling-up prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and treatment services.
Angola is one of 22 priority countries included in the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. While data from the Angolan government shows the percentage of pregnant women testing for HIV increased by 55% between 2009 and 2012, Angola is the only priority country where the number of new infections among children increased between 2009 and 2012.
Mr Sidibé met jointly with the ministers of Health, Education, Women, Defence, Youth and Sports, and Social Affairs and encouraged a multi-sectorial leadership to rapidly expand Angola’s response to HIV. The ministers committed to scaling-up HIV programmes to ensure all babies are born free of HIV and people living with HIV have access to treatment in Angola.
During his official two-day visit to Angola, Mr Sidibé also met with representatives of civil society and the private sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the Angolan AIDS response.