UNICEF and Family Health International Expand PMTCT Services in Zambia Province
MANSA/ ZAMBIA, March 2008 – Family Health International (FHI) and UNICEF have joined forces to provide quality services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) to women and children in one of Zambia’s most remote provinces, Luapula.
Dr. Elicho Bwalya, the Provincial Health Director of Luapula Province, Ms. Catherine Thompson, FHI Country Director and Chief of Party of the Zambian Prevention, Care, and Treatment Partnership (ZPCT), and Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Zambia Representative, signed a Letter of Understanding today in Mansa that will support PMTCT services at 45 medical facilities in three Luapula districts: Samfya, Chiengi, and Kawambwa. Mansa is the provincial capital of Luapula, 745 kilometers north of Lusaka.
“FHI is already supporting PMTCT services in these three districts, but with new funding and technical support from UNICEF, our partners at the Ministry of Health will soon be able to offer these services at every medical facility in the districts, reaching 100 per cent coverage,” said Ms. Thompson, noting that FHI is leading the implementation of ZPCT with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“FHI is a leader in providing PMTCT services in Zambia, and we are delighted to be partnering with them,” said UNICEF’s Sylwander. “If we’re going to reach the Millennium Development Goals in Zambia, we have to scale up PMTCT and pediatric HIV care in rural areas.”
UNICEF’s representative added that approximately 35 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women in Zambia are being reached with PMTCT interventions. “It’s an excellent start but a lot more good work needs to be completed,” she said.
To support the expansion of PMTCT in these three districts, UNICEF will be providing funding to FHI for the next two years (2008-2010).
Under the framework of the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS global initiative, FHI and UNICEF signed a global MOU last year to accelerate PMTCT and pediatric HIV response in five priority countries: Guyana, India, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. www.unicef.org
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