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TANZANIA: UNICEF drive to benefit millions of children affected by HIV/AIDS

Millions of Tanzanian children affected by HIV/AIDS are due to benefit from a global campaign aimed at accelerating their access to treatment and social support, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

In a statement issued in Dar es Salaam, UNICEF Country Representative Rodney Phillips said an estimated two million Tanzanian children had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and that the agency would work with its partners to increase efforts in reaching those affected.

"Although Tanzania has made progress in improving health services for people affected by HIV/AIDS, services available for children are limited," he said.

"In Tanzania, every year about 72,000 newborn babies are infected with HIV during delivery or soon afterwards," he said.

He said under the global initiative, "Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS", help would reach at least 10 million children affected by HIV/AIDS by 2010.

Phillips said the focus in Tanzania would be on prevention of mother-to-child transmission; paediatric treatment; prevention and protection; and support of children affected by HIV/AIDS.

"Currently less than 10 percent of women have access to prevention of mother-to-child HIV infection services, while less than 5 percent of HIV positive children in need of HIV treatment get it.

"Only 1 percent of children born of infected mothers have access to cotrimoxazole, a low cost antibiotic that can nearly halve child deaths from AIDS by fighting the deadly infections.

"The campaign aims by 2010 to provide antiretroviral treatment and cotrimoxazole to 80 percent of children in need," UNICEF said in the statement.

[GLOBAL: UN agencies launch pro-child HIV/AIDS drive]

Theme (s): Children,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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