Thirty Years of HIV: NOW is the Time to Relaunch Global Efforts to Keep Women and Children Alive

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mothers2mothers Welcomes the United Nations Global Plan to End HIV in Children and Keep Mothers Healthy.

We are here as mothers living with HIV to join our leaders, our governments, to make this happen. And in 2015 we can proudly say we overcame new HIV infections for our babies, and we kept mothers healthy and well.
-Babalwa Mbono, mothers2mothers

Today mothers2mothers spokesperson Babalwa Mbono, an HIV-positive mother of three from South Africa, helped launch “Countdown to Zero: Global Plan Towards The Elimination Of New HIV Infections Among Children By 2015 And Keeping Their Mothers Alive” (http://www.un.org/en/ga/aidsmeeting2011/) a call to action to stop children from being born with HIV, and to keep their mothers alive.
Mbono spoke on behalf of women living with HIV at the United Nations with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, former President Bill Clinton, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. “I am delighted that all of us, working together, have created this amazing global plan. Together we can eliminate pediatric HIV. We can keep women alive; we can keep mothers alive to care for their families. We can provide family planning so women only have children when they want them,” she said. “We are here as mothers living with HIV to join our leaders, our governments, to make this happen. And in 2015 we can proudly say we overcame new HIV infections for our babies, and we kept mothers healthy and well.”

Thirty years ago this week the first AIDS cases were reported in the United States. Since then, 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes. Currently, 34 million people are living with HIV and AIDS – 60% of them women and children.

Worldwide, there have been significant gains towards reducing the number of new cases of HIV in babies. But there is still much work to be done. Over 2 million adults and an estimated 400,000 children are infected with HIV every year. But there is reason for hope. “Countdown to Zero” is an ambitious new Global Plan that directs the actions of the 22 countries in the world which are home to 90% of the children born with HIV. It sets ambitious new goals: to eliminate new cases of HIV in children and halve the number of mothers dying by 2015. mothers2mothers is proud to have played a role in developing this plan, and is firmly committed to playing a central role in helping to meet the Global Plan’s ambitious targets.

“We call on all governments in the 22 priority countries to endorse the Global Plan’s goals and then establish local targets, create action plans and set budgets that reflect the cost of the comprehenisve range of programs required to provide quality services to women and their families,” said Dr. Mitch Besser, a founder of mothers2mothers, and member of the Global Task Team that created the Global Plan, “and we call on all Ministers of Health to secure the full inclusion of women living with HIV in the design, implementation and monitoring of programs.”
mothers2mothers welcomes the Global Plan, which gives new strength and clarity to efforts to end HIV in children, with ambitious targets, clear timelines, and an excellent roadmap for how countries can break through to the next stage of scaling up services.

In particular, mothers2mothers echoes the Global Plan in calling for:

  •     The central involvement of women living with HIV, including Mentor Mothers – a mother living with HIV who is trained, employed and paid as part of a medical team to support, educate and empower pregnant women and new mothers about their health and their babies’ health;
  •     New approaches to task shifting and task sharing, by promoting opportunities for Mentor Mothers and other women living with HIV to provide education and support in health care facilities and communities, to build stronger human resources for health;
  •     Community resources and assets to be fully engaged in actions to achieve the 2015 goal;
  •     Bold targets, clear timelines, budgets and plans to be set at national level, and for communities to be resourced to monitor governments’ actions to meet these goals;
  •     Recognition of the central role Mentor Mothers and other women openly living with HIV, play in efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination;
  •     National leaders to take action to create demand for services that will protect children and improve women’s health, and address the needs of women and their families for education and psychosocial support;
  •     National leaders to take action to improve the quality of services, including removing sub-optimal drugs such as single dose Nevirapine.

Event: Launch of the Global Plan Towards Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children and Keeping Their Mothers Alive
Date: Thursday, 9 June 2011
Venue: Conference Room 2, North Lawn Building
Time: 1:15pm-2:45pm EST

Speakers Include:
Babalwa Mbono, mothers2mothers
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
President Goodluck Johnathan, Nigeria
Former President Bill Clinton, United States
UNAIDS Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibe
United States Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby
Naomi Watts, UNAIDS Goodwil Ambassador
Moderated by:
Annie Lennox, Artist and Global AIDS Ambassador

mothers2mothers is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa that helps to stop children from getting HIV and keep their mothers healthy. mothers2mothers trains, employs and pays nearly 1800 new mothers living with HIV in nine African countries to provide education and support to women just like themselves. These “Mentor Mothers” become professional members of health delivery teams -- working alongside doctors and nurses to serve the needs of HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers and to help fill the gaps in critically understaffed health systems. mothers2mothers currently reaches 20 percent of the pregnant women living with HIV in the world.

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Maya Kulycky, Global Communications Director
mothers2mothers
+27(0)21 466-9160
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