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RWANDA: Centre pioneers specialized paediatric HIV care

Photo: Charles Akena/IRIN
About 19,000 Rwandan children are living with HIV
Kigali, 27 August 2009 (PlusNews) - A new centre providing care and support to children living with HIV in Rwanda is the first step in rolling out child-centred HIV services across the country, according to government officials.

On 21 August the Integrated Paediatric Centre at Kibagabaga Hospital, in the capital, Kigali, started offering specialized counselling, nutritional support and palliative care to children infected with the HI virus.

"We are committed to ensuring that all children living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda can have life in its fullness," said Agnes Binagwaho, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health. "The initiative is expected to significantly reduce child mortality rates."

The new centre is a partnership between the government, the United States International Agency for International Development, and health NGOs like Mildmay International and IntraHealth International.

"Children need special attention because tests used to diagnose HIV in adults cannot be used for infants below 18 months, who still carry their mother's antibodies," Binagwaho told IRIN/PlusNews. "By targeting children, Rwanda expects to provide quality health care that can assure them longer and healthy living."

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), about 19,000 Rwandan children are living with HIV; the country is also running an aggressive prevention of mother-to-child transmission campaign at more than 400 sites nationwide.


Theme(s): Care/Treatment - PlusNews, HIV/AIDS (PlusNews),

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