First Paediatric AIDS clinic in Malawi

by Gayatri on  November 6, 2006 at 4:58 PM AIDS/HIV News
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First Paediatric AIDS clinic in Malawi
Baylor College of Medicine International Paediatric AIDS Initiative and the Abbott Fund set up Malawi's first paediatric AIDS clinic.

The First Lady Ethel Mutharika is upset over the alarming rate of prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the youngsters.

"As a mother, the health concerns of the children of Malawi are particularly close to my heart but the prevalence of the HIV and AIDS status among the youth has shocked me and if the situation continues this way then the future of our country is at stake," said Mutharika.

The Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Joyce Banda, read out her speech at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH)on Thursday.

"I am grateful for the support of the Abbott Fund and Baylor for building this new clinic which will provide mothers with hope that their children can be effectively treated for HIV and live normal, healthy lives," said Mutharika.

According to the Minister of Health Marjorie Ngaunje, a national level anti-retroviral treatment programme was launched in Malawi in 2003. However, due to financial deficit and insufficient skilled people to treat paediatric HIV cases, the programme concentrated on adults.

"Until now we have not had the capacity to help address the complex needs of the thousands of children with HIV in Malawi out of the estimated 50 to 60 thousand HIV persons who are on ARV subsidised programme, only six percent represent children," said Ngaunje.

The reports reveal that out of the 9,00,000 people infected with HIV, 83,000 are kids.

She said, "The new clinic, whose goal is to have 1, 300 children on treatment by the end of 2006, will provide training for the local physicians and other health care workers so that the country's capability to treat youngest and most vulnerable citizens can expand."

Mark Kline, president of Baylor International Paediatric AIDS Initiative and Baylor College of Medicine said: "We are committed to helping the government of Malawi to ensure that treating children with HIV is a critical part of the national treatment programme. The centre in Lilongwe will not be a stand-alone island but will be the focal point of a national plan to scale up paediatric and family HIV/AIDS care and treatment throughout the country."

Abbott Fund's Global AIDS care programme has provided a grant of US$2.2 million (approximately MK306 million) to the clinic, apart from supporting the existing projects in the clinic.

Source: Medindia

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