Xinhua News Agency (11.16.11) - Friday, November 18, 2011
Around 23 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women in Western
and Central Africa received treatment to prevent their infants
from becoming infected in 2009, up from 4 percent in 2005,
UNICEF said Wednesday. Yet despite this improvement, many
countries in the region are lagging behind in efforts to
reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission.
"Reducing the number of new infections among children by 90
percent and the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50
percent by 2015 is now within reach," though "a national
priority for the countries concerned" is imperative, UNICEF
Western and Central Africa together account for 25 percent of
the total number of pregnant women and children infected with
HIV, according to the agency. "Protecting babies against the
virus is a matter of political will and priority in the
allocation of resources of the concerned states and donor
states," said Jacques Hintzy, president of UNICEF France.
UNICEF France, the French Foreign Ministry, and the French
Agency for Development gathered with leading pharmaceutical
firms in Paris on Wednesday for a two-day meeting on reducing
infant HIV transmission in Africa.