According to Sunday Mail, 100 000 of these children are unable to undergo treatment because there is a dire lack of staff in Zimbabwean hospitals.

The report further states the affected children are at risk of dying from opportunistic infections such at tuberculosis, shingles and pneumonia.

Even though the latest statistics show that the number of children dying from HIV-related infections has declined by over 60% over the last decade, the decrease in Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment could pose a threat to the country’s fight against the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care national co-ordinator of mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention (PMTCT), Dr Angela Mushavi, told Sunday Mail pediatric ARV coverage (administering of ARVs to children) was due to a shortage of skills and a few hospitals and clinics supplying ARVs.

“Most rural areas lack trained health personnel to initiate children on ART. Usually, nurses at these sites rely on doctors to initiate the children. Another challenge slowing down ART coverage is delayed testing; most children are only tested after falling seriously ill.

“Once an HIV test is confirmed positive, all children less than five years old should be initiated on ART without any delays, while older children need a CD4 count to determine if they need to start.”

According to 2012 UNAIDS statistics, there are 1,4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe with 180 000 children from o months to 14-years-old infected with the virus.

SOURCE: Sunday Mail