UNICEF reports progress in averting Mother To Child HIV transmission

Rapid HIV test

Great progress has been made to prevent mother-to-child (MTC) transmission of HIV, a lentivirus that causes the lethal disease AIDS with no cures at present, with more than 850,000 infants being saved from the virus infection between 2005 and 2012, said a UN report.

The new 2013 Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS, released Friday by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of Sunday’s World AIDS Day, showed that some 260,000 children were newly infected with HIV last year, compared to 540,000 in 2005.

“These days, even if a pregnant woman is living with HIV, it doesn’t mean her baby must have the same fate, and it doesn’t mean she can’t lead a healthy life,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

According to UN figures, some of the most remarkable successes were in high HIV burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

New infections among infants declined between 2009 and 2012 by 76 percent in Ghana, 58 percent in Namibia, 55 percent in Zimbabwe, 52 percent in Malawi and Botswana, and 50 percent in Zambia and Ethiopia. Read more

New HIV infections among infants declined between 2009 and 2012 by 50 per cent in Ethiopia!

HIV Tetsing

Today, on 29 November 2013, UNICEF releases the ‘Children and AIDS: Sixth Stocktaking Report’, the first report of its kind since 2010. The 6th Stocktaking Report on Children and AIDS provides the latest figures, based on 2012 country data, on both the first decade (Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and pediatric AIDS) and the second decade (adolescents 10-19 years) of life – all in one place. Many of the figures that appear in the second decade are new, since most publications provide data on ‘young people’ (15- 24 years) only, rather than adolescents (10-19 years).

Some of the most remarkable successes were in high HIV burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The report shows that new infections among infants declined between 2009 and 2012 by 50 per cent in Ethiopia!

Country progress in reducing new HIV infections among children aged 0–14 in the 21 Global Plan priority countries in Africa, 2009–2012On page 10 of the report (www.childrenandaids.org) you will find the graph which indicates that Ethiopia is one of the seven countries (out of the 22 priority countries of the Global Plan) highlighted as having halved new HIV infections among children aged 0 – 14. In Ethiopia, this major decline is mainly observed in the first year of a child’s life because of successful prevention of mother to child transmission interventions.

See the press release here


See recent pictures related to HIV/AIDS here

Bringing to Spotlight the Rights of Children at the 8th Ethiopian Film Festival

What: UNICEF screens short documentary followed by media roundtable on Children’s rights
When: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 4:00PM- 6:00PM
Who: Panelist from UNICEF Ethiopia
Mr Ibrahim Sesay – Child Protection Specialist
Ms. Tabeyin Gedlu –Gender and Development Specialist, Focal Person on
Harmful Traditional Practices
Ms. Hiwot Gebeyehu – Gender and Child Rights Officer
Where: Addis Ababa, Italian Cultural Institute
Background: The 8th edition of the Ethiopian International Film Festival is being held from 25 November to 2 December 2013 in Addis Ababa. The festival is expected to screen both national and international film producers in a week long programme encompassing International Organizations, embassies, NGOs, civil societies and other interest groups to premier their productions and draw a wide range of discussions on issues relevant to their field.

The film festival comes at a time when UNICEF Ethiopia is celebrating Universal Children’s Day – the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This year UNICEF urges a much stronger light be shone on the millions of children in every country and at every level of society who are victims of violence and abuse that continue to go unnoticed and under-reported. The 8th Ethiopian film Festival is a great opportunity to promulgate children’s rights and protection issues to the public using documentaries and other film genres as a channel.


Ethiopia to second health professionals, experts and health professionals to Namibia

The Namibian government on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia whereby both parties agreed on the possibility for Ethiopia to second health professionals, experts and health professionals to Namibia.

Health extension worker Bruktawit Mulu

In terms of the MoU Ethiopia has committed to continue providing scholarships to a specified number of Namibian students to go and study in that country. The two countries further agreed on a training programme for Namibian health professionals, including doctors, registered nurses, health technicians, pharmacists, paramedics and others. During the signing ceremony the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, once again reiterated that Namibia faces a critical shortage of health professionals and stressed the fact that the ministry finds it difficult to attract and retain health professionals in rural areas.

Early in March Cabinet decided that the health extension programme should be introduced in all regions. Shortly thereafter the Ethiopian ministry of health assisted Namibia to pilot the health extension workers programme in the Kunene Region through which about 40 Namibians were trained. The health extension programme was then rolled out to the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene regions where a total of 565 health extension workers are currently undergoing training. The health extension workers act as a bridge between the community and public health care clinics.

They also promote health and educate people on how to prevent diseases in communities, as well as promote immunisation and carry out maternal and child health assessments. Moreover, the Ethiopian Minister of Health, Dr Kesetebirhan Admasu revealed that his country made a significant effort to improve health delivery. Admasu said Ethiopia has already achieved targets on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and also reduced its under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2012, thereby meeting the target set under the Millennium Development Goals. Read more

Back to School video campaigns

Students of Lions kids primary school in Entoto, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Ministry of Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia launched a massive nationwide awareness campaign on going back to school and called on parents, communities and local leaders to bring their children to school.

The awareness campaign, which kick-started in September, as schools open across the country, is a drive that seeks to increase awareness of parents on the importance of education and support Ethiopia to meet its Millennium Development Goals on universal access.

Some Back to School television campaigns in Amharic can be seen here

And see the press release back in September here.

Ethiopia and Angola double number of girls in school in 10 years

Children pose before the start of their class at a school in Cabinda January 13, 2010. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
Children pose before the start of their class at a school in Cabinda January 13, 2010. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The number of girls enrolling in primary school has soared across Africa in the last decade, according to a report released on Monday, which also found a significant drop in the number of child deaths over the past five years.

With primary education now free in all but five African countries, there has been a boom in the number of children attending school, with Ethiopia and Angola showing the most dramatic improvements.

In Ethiopia, girls’ enrolment rose to 83 percent from 41 percent between 2000 and 2011, while Angola saw an increase to 78 percent from 35 percent, according to the African Report on Child Wellbeing produced by the African Child Policy Forum, a research institute based in Ethiopia. Read more

International Children’s Day celebrated big and colourful in Ethiopia

All sectors will come hand in hand to help children in need
International Children’s Day was big and colourful in Assosa, the capital of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. The event was graced by the Regional president, HE Ato Ahmed Nasir, Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, HE Zenebu Tadesse, the chair and vice chair of the parliamentary standing committee on women and children, line sector bureau heads, development and humanitarian agencies, and of course children from various backgrounds.

HE Zenebu Tadesse, Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, makes an opening speech International Children's Day celebration in Assosa

HE Zenebu Tadesse’s message highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation and coordination of the all partners to increase efforts for the effective delivery of services to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). She stressed on the importance of participating children in all our endeavours.

Ibrahim Sesay, UNICEF Ethiopia’s Child Protection Specialist, key note speech during the day urges partners to strengthen the effort to deliver on promises for children.

“This year’s global theme for the celebration is to “Stop Violence against Children”, with a special emphasis on birth registration, child marriage, positive parenting and non-violent discipline. However, in Ethiopia, this event has been tailored to mark the need to strengthen various initiatives that will improve the situation of vulnerable children.

The name of the vulnerable child that requires our urgent attention and support is called TODAY. This child can no longer wait for all the promises we usually make. The child TODAY is calling for appropriate actions that will improve his/her situation. Our children in Ethiopia are asking from duty bearers – ‘give us what you promised’!

From his conversation and listening to children’s voices, Ibrahim Sesay enlisted five key promises which children are eager to receive from all partners:
1. Making laws/policies and programmes very relevant through effective implementation. Government’s efforts should be tailored in creating an enabling environment for the enforcement of legislative frameworks and policies that have been developed, and improving co-ordination across government departments and partnership with service providers.
2. Building on existing community strengths and resilience
3. Improving public information on the situation of vulnerable children.
4. Empowering children. The need to further promote the active participation and organization of girls and boys in all our programmes.
5. Accelerating the current child care reforms to better protect vulnerable children.

Ibrahim Sesay, Child Protection Specialist, makes a key note statement during International Children's Day celebration in AssosaMr. Sesay affirmed that UNICEF continues to support the government to implement the five point agenda and call for action, leveraging with other development actors to support the core programmes that promote children’s rights in Ethiopia.”

UNICEF launched the #ENDViolence Against Children campaign earlier this year. It urges public acknowledgement of the problem of violence against children and encourages support and engagement with local movements to address a compelling global issue.