Zimbabwe on track to achieve virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Washington, D.C.–Nov. 18, 2015–The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in partnership with
the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health & Child Care (MOHCC) and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), today commemorated the conclusion of a 5-year, $45 million project to accelerate the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe. In 2010, when the project began, Zimbabwe had one of the highest burdens of new HIV infections in the world, with a mother-to-child HIV transmission rate of approximately 30 percent. Today, the rate of transmission has been reduced to 6.7 percent and is continuing to fall, putting Zimbabwe on track to be one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

"What Zimbabwe has accomplished in the past five years is an inspiration to the world," said Charles Lyons, EGPAF president and CEO. "We can build upon the incredible momentum we've generated through our partnership with CIFF and MOHCC to drive forward toward a future where no child has AIDS."

The project drastically scaled up access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services by taking a district-based approach. This strategy ensured sustainability and local ownership of Zimbabwe's national PMTCT program. Today, PMTCT services are available in maternal, newborn, and child health clinics (MNCH) across the country's 62 districts. Thanks to this scale-up, MOHCC has reached nearly 2 million pregnant women with antenatal care and enrolled more than 280,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers living with HIV and more than 234,000 HIV-exposed infants into the national PMTCT program.

The project established an electronic database in 36 strategic sites to improve follow-up and retention for mothers and their babies enrolled in the national PMTCT program. Turn-around-time for diagnosing HIV among infants has been reduced from 16 to 10 weeks thanks to the introduction of a courier system to support transportation of dry blood samples and strengthening the capacity of laboratories. The project also procured 154 point-of-care CD4 machines to provide same-day CD4 test results, which are important for understanding the early progression and impact of HIV on patients.

Since 2001, EGPAF has been a lead partner to MOHCC, supporting national PMTCT and pediatric HIV programs in Zimbabwe. EGPAF will continue to work with partners, including CIFF and MOHCC, to fill critical gaps toward the shared goal of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe.

"Thanks to the leadership of the MOHCC, the strong political commitment nationally, and with support from CIFF and other funding partners, we collectively can say that indeed ending pediatric AIDS in Zimbabwe is not a dream, together we can make it a reality," said Agnes Mahomva, M.D. EGPAF-Zimbabwe country director.

To experience the success of this partnership and learn more about its activities, watch this video.


About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation:

EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached more than 23 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports nearly 8,000 health facilities and works in 15 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.pedaids.org..

About the Children's Investment Fund Foundation

The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is an independent philanthropic organisation, headquartered in London. CIFF works to transform the lives of poor and vulnerable children in developing countries. It has a child-focused portfolio of investments, targeting challenges that need urgent attention. Areas of work include children and mothers' health and nutrition, children's education and welfare, and smart ways to slowdown climate change. All CIFF-funded programmes place significant emphasis on gathering quality data and evidence. Before making an investment and during implementation, CIFF works with partners to measure and evaluate progress to achieve large scale and sustainable impact. Every child deserves to survive and thrive. For more information, please visit: http://www.ciff.org.