NEW YORK - President Paul Kagame, Thursday, addressed the UNICEF’s missing face of Children and Aids meeting in New York, where he was invited to speak about Rwanda’s progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In his remarks, the President noted that without the prevention of Mother-To-Child-Transmission programme, an estimated 6,300 babies in Rwanda would have been infected with HIV at birth.
“Today, while the developed world has virtually eliminated Mother-To-Child-Transmission of the disease, almost 90 percent of new HIV infections in children occur in Sub Saharan Africa. Majority of these are due to the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies” Kagame said.
“What will it take to have an HIV free new generation? History will judge us harshly if, even with these lessons, we fail to achieve our goal of eliminating new HIV infections in children”.
The President pointed out that in Rwanda, prevention of Mother-To-Child-Transmission has been integrated into the routine maternal and child health services to the extent that 80 percent of health facilities provide this service.
During the meeting, ‘Princess’, a 24 year old lady born with HIV/AIDS, recounted her story and enumerated the challenges she faces in life as a result of her status.
Princess called on world leaders to unite and work towards ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
The event was organised by UNICEF with the aim of putting children living with HIV/AIDS at the forefront of the agenda to fight the scourge.