While a lot of progress has been made in supporting children infected by HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, there is still much more to do. Every day, an estimated 1,000 children across the world are born with HIV, despite known methods of how to prevent mother to child transmission.
As we wind up the mother and child week, we should take time to reflect on how to prevent more death and suffering of Children infected with HIV. Earlier this week, the focus of World AIDS Day was on prevention among adults, but support to children should be kept in focus.
As we continue to fight the scourge, it is imperative that transmission of HIV from mother to child is brought to an end. Infected children should be provided with the antiretroviral medication they need and the other preventable diseases that cut their lives short should be treated with urgency. Children who are HIV positive are vulnerable to many diseases that are easily preventable and treatable. Pneumonia and diarrhea head the list of the most deadly killers for children under five years.
And, unlike HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and diarrhea are among the most preventable and treatable diseases. Effective interventions including exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, improved hygiene, and the use of medication have the capacity to save the lives of millions of children, including the most vulnerable HIV positive children.
Ensuring children are born HIV free, giving them medication, if infected, and sensitizing Rwandans about healthy interventions must remain a priority.