Zim Donates HIV Paediatric Drugs

National Aids Council, information officer, Orinando Manwere, confirmed to Radio VOP that Zimbabwe was currently donating drugs to countries were there was a high up take of paediatric antiretroviral drugs like South Africa and Botswana.

He said that in Zimbabwe there is a low uptake of paediatric Antiretroviral Treatment Therapy (ART) because children under the age of 16 need parental consent to go for testing.

“We have noted that parents are not keen or well prepared on taking their children for HIV testing and we have to do a lot of advocacy to educate parents on the need to take their children for testing so that they access the drugs as the quantity of drugs we have is not in tandem with the uptake of drugs.

“We have enough stock of ARVs for children,” he said.

He said there was a long waiting list for adults because they were voluntarily going for HIV testing.

He said they had started a programme of identifying HIV positive children which had resulted in 250 being put on ART at Chitungwiza Hospital. The parents of these children had joined the advocacy team where they were educating fellow parents with HIV positive children in an effort to fight stigma.

According to UNAIDS report on the Global AIDS epidemic 2010: of the 33.3 million people living with HIV globally, 2.5 million are children under 15 years of age and an estimated 370 000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2009. Further it is estimated that more than 1000 children are newly infected with HIV every day.

A 2010 report on Universal Access programme notes that more than 90 percent of HIV infections in children result from mother to child-transition where the virus is passed from mother living with HIV to her baby during pregnancy, child birth, or breast feeding.

Children living with HIV get sick more severely than adults. They may experience the same common paediatric infections and common infections in HIV positive children include ear, sinus infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin diseases and meningitis. In developing countries in particular, diarrhoea and respiratory illnesses are common in HIV positive children.

In Zimbabwe, the uptake and coverage of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission services has been scaled up since 2001, with HIV prevalence in antenatal clinic attendances shown to be 25 percent in 2002, then 21,3 percent in 2004.