Sub-Saharan Africa
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Namibia is First African Nation to Make Huge Progress in Ending Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission

© AP Photo / Denis FarrellLaboratory technicians test a blood sample for HIV infection at the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (RHI) in Johannesburg,Thursday, Nov. 26 2020
Laboratory technicians test a blood sample for HIV infection at the Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (RHI) in Johannesburg,Thursday, Nov. 26 2020 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 08.05.2024
Last year, the United Nations celebrated Namibia's success in the fight against HIV, saying that 95% of all adults aged 15-49 in the southern African country know their HIV status, 97% are on HIV treatment, and 94% have suppressed viral loads.
Namibia has become the first high-burden country in the world and the first nation in Africa to reach a major milestone toward eliminating vertical mother-to-child transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis B, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The health agency noted that HIV testing for pregnant women is available almost universally across the country, and access to treatment has led to a 70% reduction in vertical transmission over the past 20 years.

"In 2022, only 4% of babies born to mothers living with HIV acquired the virus. Almost 80% of infants received a timely birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine, one of the key metrics of success on the path to elimination," the statement said.

WHO said it has awarded Namibia the "silver tier" for progress in hepatitis B control and the "bronze tier" for progress in HIV control, adding that the government has integrated primary health care with antenatal, child health and sexual and reproductive health services.
The government has also provided stable domestic funding for national health programs that provide widely accessible, quality and free clinical services and support, as the organization pointed out.
"This is a landmark achievement by Namibia that demonstrates the life-saving possibilities of committed political leadership and effective implementation of public health priorities," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said. "With concerted efforts, we can accelerate progress to reach the goals of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis – the triple elimination."
 A nurse prepares to administer an AstraZeneca vaccination against COVID-19, at a district health center giving first, second, and booster doses to eligible people, in the low-income Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 20, 2022.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 09.04.2024
WHO Praises Progress in African Health Systems While Identifying Areas Requiring Further Improvement
WHO awards bronze status to a country where vertical mother-to-child transmission is reduced to less than 5%. Silver status is awarded if at least 50% of infants in a country have received the hepatitis B vaccine.
The WHO Triple Elimination Initiative works to end the vertical transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B, which is widespread in low- and middle-income countries. It encourages countries to integrate services using a people-centered approach to improve maternal and child health.
Last year, the UN expressed confidence that Namibia would end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.