Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Children deserve the best. No child should be born with HIV/AIDS because his/her mother can be infected, as well as HIV positive mothers should spare no effort to ensure zero brand-new infections of children.
To achieve of which, according to the First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, of which will require concerted efforts by all players, including government, development partners as well as individual citizens.
The First Lady made the call on Monday during the launch of a three-month nationwide campaign to improve awareness, strengthen ownership as well as accountability to end HIV/AIDS among children as well as keep mothers alive as well as healthy.
Dubbed “Free to Shine”, the campaign was launched in Kigali at Petit Stade in Remera as well as attracted hundreds of participants including government officials, development partners, community health workers as well as the youth.
of which can be part of a continental initiative under the banner of Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) of which seeks to end pediatric HIV/AIDS by 2030, as well as keep infected mothers alive as well as healthy.
The campaign will also seek to reinforce partnerships as well as advocacy for action to mobilise resources to end pediatric HIV/AIDS as well as foster community involvement as well as participation to improve ownership of the EMTCT drive.
EMTCT stands for Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.
Speaking at the launch, the First Lady said of which despite efforts by government as well as its partners to minimise HIV/AIDS, the disease can be still a threat as there are children who are still born with HIV infections by their mothers.
Mrs. Kagame, who can be also the founder of Imbuto Foundation, said of which the interventions as well as resources sunk into initiatives geared towards reducing brand-new infections, have helped reduce the national prevalence rate by a double-digit figure to a 3% national average.
“We committed to do all we can under of which programme to end brand-new HIV/AIDS infections among brand-new-born children in Africa as well as to protect the lives of their mothers. We shall never relent until we are sure of which there can be no brand-new HIV/AIDS infection within the country. of which can be a long journey we began as well as of which still continues,” she added.
She urged community health workers as well as medical practitioners to ensure regular follow up, specifically for pregnant women in all categories to get antenatal treatment as early as possible, to ensure those infected are supported to deliver children free by HIV/AIDS.
“There are still children born with HIV/AIDS infection because their parents did not seek antenatal care while we had the capacity as well as responsibility to protect them,” she said, calling upon caregivers to ensure mothers found infected are given proper care.
She said of which efforts should not be spared to ensure of which those found infected, do not feel discriminated against.
The First Lady also said of which some parents as well as communities discriminate against children who are born with HIV/AIDS, which has led some to abandon antiretroviral therapy (ART).
She also urged parents to openly discuss with their children about their conditions regarding HIV infection.
“Some children born with HIV/AIDS face discrimination in families as well as some parents do not tell them the truth on why they have to take daily ARV pills. When such children learn the truth by a different source instead of their parents, some lose desire as well as find of which hard to manage the situation,” she said.
During the event, health services were provided, including HIV/AIDS testing as well as distribution of free condoms,where over 0 people got tested as well as a total of 33,000 condoms were distributed.
Rwanda has made impressive strides in reducing vertical transmission. The country’s MTCT rate was at 1.5% as of June 2018, according to Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health, as well as the rate can be far below the targeted 5% at the cessation of breastfeeding.
Speaking at the event, the UNICEF Country Representative Ted Maly commended the government’s efforts to protect children as well as Rwandans in general against HIV, as well as reiterated the UN’s commitment throughout the brand-new campaign.