Thailand and Belarus have just joined the league of nations that have eliminated mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and syphilis while Armenia and Moldova have put an end to (MTCT) HIV and syphilis respectively.
However, enormous progress have been made and with a little more effort, Ghana may fulfill goal three of the global goals.
Mother to child transmission occurs during pregnancy, at the time of labour and delivery, or during lactation.
According to Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, Thailand is a shining example for many HIV endemic countries to learn from.
"Thailand has turned around its epidemic and transformed the lives of thousands of women and children affected by HIV. Thailand's progress shows how much can be achieved when science and medicine are underpinned by sustained political commitment."
The announcement was made ahead of the UNAIDS High-Level Meeting on ending AIDS in New York. In attendance is Ghana’s vice president; Kwesi Amissah Arthur and first lady Lordina Mahama and she has said “we must address the needs of young people, especially young girls, and the factors that increase their vulnerability to HIV” to end the disease.
Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals aims at “ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.”
The Ghana story
In Ghana, the government and its health agencies have been working to ensure a reduction of HIV prevalence. Such is the keen eye put on the disease that the Ghana Aids Commission is under the direct chairmanship of the president.
However, a recent report from the National Aids Control Programme showed a rise in HIV prevalence particularly in the Greater Accra region.
Nonetheless, the fight to halt MTCT remains unwavering. With the national antenatal coverage well over 90 percent, testing and early detection of the virus has increased.
A 2015 country-specific report by UNAIDS found that “the percentage of HIV infected pregnant women who received antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of mother to child transmission has increased from 38.1% in 2008 to 70 in 2012. The Number of elimination of MTCT centres increased from 135 in 2005 to 2,255 functional sites by December 2014.
The number of clients counselling and testing as part of antenatal clinic services has increased from 257,466 in 2008 to 627,180 in 2011.”
The country’s Aids programme has been battered following recent scandals about one of one of its ambassadors and it remains a long shot away from reaching the heights of Thailand.