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End Of Pediatric AIDS Possible With Coordinated Efforts By Governments, Local Communities, Other Partners

“Eliminating new pediatric HIV infections will take coordinated efforts by national governments, local communities, and external partners,” Chip Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Governments must be equipped to meet the needs of their populations, and the programs that support HIV-positive people must help to deliver services to keep them healthy and help prevent new infections in un-infected people,” he states. Lyons discusses EGPAF’s efforts in Kenya “to help the national government to improve delivery of health services to its citizens,” highlighting Kenya’s Maisha project, which, instituted in 2010 and led by the government with support from UNICEF and EGPAF, aims “to build the capacity of all levels of government and health facilities to provide services for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) of HIV.”

“Through the Maisha project, the Rongo District Hospital and 11 other health facilities in Nyanza Province are offering reproductive health services to all women of reproductive age while providing HIV services as part of general outpatient services, with the support of EGPAF and the Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP),” Lyons writes, noting, “Integration of services is essential to providing comprehensive health care to women and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Maternal and child health, reproductive health, family planning, and HIV services are all integral to maintaining the health and well-being of families.” He adds, “Community engagement and support is often a large factor in maintaining the health of HIV-positive people,” and he concludes, “Innovative projects like Maisha are turning the tide against pediatric HIV/AIDS. With coordinated efforts like these being made in the countries most affected by HIV and AIDS, the goal of eliminating pediatric AIDS is in sight” (8/20).