FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

WHO says progress was made in combating HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria in 2013

The World Health Organization regional office for Africa said on Thursday that 2013 was a fairly successful year in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

WHO Deputy Regional Director M. Moeti provided a status update at a meeting of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria experts on March 5.

Moeti said 68 percent of eligible people were receiving antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS, which was an increase of more than 90 percent compared to coverage in 2009. She said new HIV infections in children have decreased by 37 percent, and 90 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving antiretroviral medicine.

Moeti said 3.3 million lives were saved between 2000 and 2012 as a result of malaria interventions.

"Progress has been made in the control of malaria prevention and control," Moeti said. "Projections show that if current trends are maintained, malaria incidence would have decreased by almost 40 percent and the mortality rate by 62 percent, by 2015."

Moeti said the decline in TB can be credited in part to screening HIV patients for TB.

"We should not forget the fact that while progress has been made, there are still several challenges to meet," Moeti said.

Moeti said some challenges include multi-drug resistant TB, difficulty in preventing the spread of malaria and inadequate health systems.

"We need to ensure that now more than ever before, we work together in harmony to implement interventions with the highest impact at the lowest cost to ensure the greatest return on health investments," African Union Director of Social Affairs Olawale Maiyegun said.