The World Health Organization announced today that Maldives has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Maldives is the second country in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve this feat, after Thailand. Globally, congenital syphilis is the second leading cause of preventable still births while mother-to-child transmission of HIV accounts for 9% new infections.
Maldives’ success is attributed to its proactive, persistent and long-term public health measures initiated even before the first case of HIV infection was detected in the country in 1991. The country’s AIDS Control Programme, launched in 1987, prioritized creating awareness, preventing HIV transmission with a focus on the at-risk population, while also providing quality care, support and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS and Syphilis.
Lauding Maldives, the Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, “Today’s milestone is yet another demonstration of the country’s determination to ensure health and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere. With a consistently high budget for health, over 9% of GDP, and persistent efforts over the years to ensure quality care, Maldives has overcome unique and huge challenges to be in the forefront to eliminate diseases such as malaria, lymphatic filariasis, measles, and now mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.”
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