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Eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Nigeria

7 May 2014

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As Mother's Day is celebrated across the world this weekend, we’re proud to announce a partnership that builds on our history of supporting programmes to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Africa and around the world.

The Foundation has teamed up with Mylan, Inc., one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, to give a combined $1 million to the Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free (BLC) for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria. The Saving One Million Lives initiative aims to prevent the deaths of one million mothers and children under five by 2015.

Nigeria is home to 3.4 million people living with HIV, with approximately 60,000 children newly infected with the virus in 2012 alone – the most of any nation in the world. For many years, the mother-to-child transmission rate there has remained at 30%, despite other countries – from the U.S. to Botswana – virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

“For over a decade, I have been meeting women living with HIV who were desperate not to pass the virus to their unborn children,” commented Elton John. “As soon as proven medication was available, my Foundation began to help expand national programs to prevent such transmission. Over the past three years alone, this funding has supported 693,631 expecting mothers across 600 sites in seven countries. These programs have proven highly successful, with 96% of mothers staying on life-saving ARV treatment during delivery, compared to a general population figure of just 66%. This means we have helped enable up to 65,000 children to be born HIV free.

 I am delighted that our fundraising collaboration with Mylan has expanded to a grant-making one, and look forward to us making a substantial contribution not only to reducing mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in Nigeria, but helping the world reach the target of elimination of this transmission by the end of 2015.”

In 2012, the BLC launched a partnership with the Government of Nigeria’s Save One Million Lives team to catalyze data-driven, state-by-state operational plans and innovative policies  to facilitate scale up of these services. The BLC pilot in Nasarawa State has already yielded 40,000 women tested for HIV. Additionally, 80% of women who tested HIV-positive are now on treatment to prevent their children being born with the virus.

The BLC, in collaboration with many other private funders, is now supporting the Save One Million Lives team within the Government of Nigeria to apply this successful model across a dozen more high-priority states.

The $1 million commitment by Mylan and EJAF will support this scale up effort through 2015, contributing to the national goal of testing 90% of pregnant mothers and treating those who are HIV-positive. The funding is initially targeting two of the 13 highest priority states for eMTCT in Nigeria – Plateau and Federal Capital Territory.

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