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Community Health Workers Key To Reaching Zero New HIV Infections Among Children

“During the upcoming meeting of leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, the world’s governments, [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] and the private sector should take an important step toward reaching the goal of zero new HIV infections among children,” because after decades of work, this goal can be reached “within the short time remaining until the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] are concluded at the end of 2015,” Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a special adviser to the U.N. on the MDGs, and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé write in a CNN opinion piece. “This can be achieved by deploying a new generation of community health workers (CHWs) who will not only help to fight AIDS but also bring other kinds of health care to the communities they are serving,” they state.

Sachs and Sidibé discuss the 1 Million Community Health Workers Campaign and how UNAIDS and the Millennium Villages Project are “building a network of health workers, supported with training, new technology, a supply chain of antiretrovirals and other key inputs, and professional supervision at the level of clinics and hospitals.” They continue, “On September 28, we will also join 60,000 people on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park for [the] Global Citizen Festival — along with many millions more watching from around the world — to issue a global appeal for these historic objectives. We believe that the world will rise to the occasion” (9/16).