top of page

Belize, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Celebrate Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis

In a significant milestone for public health in the Americas, Belize, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been officially certified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis (EMTCT). The achievement was commemorated at a special event organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Kingston, Jamaica, supported by UNICEF and UNAIDS, and attended by health ministers from the three countries.

Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Director of PAHO, hailed the accomplishment as the result of years of dedication, collaboration, and resilience demonstrated by the governments, healthcare professionals, and communities of the three nations. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, these countries have shown remarkable commitment to ensuring the continuation of essential services.

Since 2010, countries in the Americas have committed to the EMTCT goal and endorsed regional strategies to achieve it. By strengthening prevention and treatment services, updating guidelines, and ensuring effective screening of pregnant women, Belize, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have made significant progress toward this objective.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, praised Belize for integrating primary disease prevention and treatment into maternal and child health services, Jamaica for its commitment to human rights through civil society organizations, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for investing in robust national laboratory structures.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness of Belize, emphasized the significance of the achievement for the country and its people, highlighting the commitment of healthcare workers in realizing this goal.

Globally, 19 countries and territories, including 11 in the Americas, have now been certified for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and/or syphilis. This achievement underscores the region's leadership in the global effort to end AIDS and congenital syphilis.

UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Christine Stegling celebrated the milestone as a testament to Caribbean countries' global leadership in the elimination agenda. She highlighted the significant decrease in new HIV infections among children in the region and the decline in reported cases of congenital syphilis.

UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Garry Conille, expressed confidence that this achievement would inspire other countries in the region to pursue the EMTCT agenda, ultimately ensuring that no child is left behind in the progress to end AIDS by 2030.

The certification criteria set by WHO include reducing the mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to under 5%, providing antenatal care and antiretroviral treatment to over 90% of pregnant women, reporting fewer than 50 new cases of congenital syphilis per 100,000 newborns, and achieving an HIV case rate of fewer than 500 per 100,000 live births.

The PAHO Elimination Initiative aims to end over 30 communicable diseases, including mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030. The initiative seeks to build on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and previous elimination experiences to accelerate disease eradication efforts in the region

19 views0 comments


bottom of page