Regional minimum standards for harmonised approaches to Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) in the SADC region
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One of the main aims of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is regional economic and political integration. However, as the region progresses towards the achievement of this objective, it is challenged by the adverse effects of HIV and AIDS on social, political and economic development. The region leads the world in terms of HIV infections, the majority of Member States have adult HIV prevalence levels of over 15%, and several have adult prevalence of more than 20%.
In recognition of the devastating effects of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, the SADC Heads of State and Government made a commitment through the Maseru Declaration to combat HIV and AIDS and other deadly and communicable diseases. Through the declaration, they emphasized the need for rapid scale-up of PMTCT programmes, and to ensure that levels of uptake are sufficient to achieve the desired public health impact. The Maseru Declaration also reaffirmed earlier commitments, such as the United Nations General Assembly's 26th Special Session (UNGASS), which, among other things, committed to stopping the tragic transmission of HIV from mother to child. The UNGASS also committed to reducing by 20% by 2005 and 50% by 2010 the proportion of infants and children infected with HIV.
In line with the overall regional integration agenda and the control of communicable and other health problems, the SADC region has put together the Protocol on Health, which guides implementation of the regional health agenda. The Protocol calls for the harmonization of regional approaches as well as regional cooperation.
These regional minimum standards serve as a harmonization framework for regional approaches to PMTCT, and are, therefore, part of the operationalisation of the different declarations to which the region is signatory to. They are also in line with the regional agenda of integration.