SWAZILAND through the ministry of health has received medical equipment worth over E5 million ($500 000) from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and Project C.U.R.E from the United States of America (USA).
The donation included essential maternity equipment, lifesaving new born-resuscitating, theatre, laboratory and dental equipment.
The equipment was said to increase access to high quality health services and eliminate new HIV infections among children as well as keeping mothers alive.
According to the USA Ambassador to Swaziland Makila James, such partnership was an example of how governments, donors and international organisations ought to work together to create an AIDS free generation.
“We are truly excited about our partnership with project C.U.R.E and hope that it can expand as we continue with efforts towards eliminating Pediatric HIV and keeping mothers alive,” she said.
Despite the country reportedly having the highest HIV prevalence in the world, CD4 testing equipment is not available in all the facilities.
This is said to result in a delay in treatment for patients who have to wait long periods before getting their test results. The donation took place at the Central Medical Stores in Matsapha yesterday.
Also present during the handover was EGPAF Country Director, Mohammed Mahdi, who mentioned that about 14 000 children were born to HIV infected mothers annually in the country and without the prevention of mother to child treatment, close to 40 percent of the children would be infected with HIV.
He mentioned that they would now oversee the distribution of the life saving supplies to 12 health care facilities located across the country’s regions. Mahdi further reaffirmed their commitment to eliminate AIDS in the country and everywhere else.
“Our work is rooted in the legacy of Elizabeth Glaser who contracted HIV through blood transfusion and further passed it to both her children in the early 1980s when AIDS was at its height in the US.”
DPM wants equipment used efficiently
DEPUTY Prime Minister Paul Dlamini says the new equipment should be utilised efficiently and straight away.
Speaking during the hand-over, Dlamini said he did not expect any of the equipment to be stored because it was needed for service delivery.
He said this would increase the capacity of nurses and doctors to perform their jobs in a professional manner which they were trained for.
“I have learnt that the equipment ranges from sophisticated ultrasound machines to incubators, and I hope that it will be used right away,” he said.
He mentioned that they were proud that the country was amongst the best in Africa on prevention of mother to child transmission.
He said local health workers were constantly being trained to provide skills that will enable them to keep families and communities healthy.
Dlamini further assured that government would remain committed to ensuring a healthy nation which would in turn lead to His Majesty’s dream of the country attaining first world status by 2022.
US Ambassador praises SD
on improved maternal health
US Ambassador Makila James has applauded the country on improved maternal health and child health, especially in the prevention of mother to child transmission.
Makila said the country made significant progress with integrating HIV prevention, care and treatment services into maternal and child health clinics, which she said were a global best practice. However, she mentioned that they could not rest on these accomplishments as the HIV prevalence amongst pregnant women still stood at 41 percent.
She said out of 1 000 births, 69 would die during infancy which was a much higher rate than in the 1990s. She added though that the United States of America was a committed partner to the effort as in 2004 they entered into a relationship through PEPFAR in supporting the ministry of health.
She did mention that Swaziland, like other African countries was faced with the challenge of shortage of medical supplies and equipment.
She added that, they hoped the personnel would be able to use the new supplies in fighting some of the challenges they were faced with in the health sector.