First Lady of Mozambique appointed as Patron of the Global Plan
31 July 2013
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, has appointed the First Lady of Mozambique as a Patron of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.
A long-standing champion of the response to HIV, Maria Dia Luz Guebuza has advocated for zero new HIV infections among children for a number of years. In 2012, at the 32nd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) she was instrumental in convening a powerful meeting of First Ladies. During the meeting the 15 First Ladies developed the ‘Maputo Declaration on the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV’ which Dr Guebuza presented to heads of State who officially adopted the declaration at the Summit.
As a Patron of the Global Plan, Dr Guebuza will highlight the need to expand both HIV prevention and treatment services to women and children not only in Mozambique but across the region, which has been most affected by the AIDS epidemic.
The Global Plan is focusing particular efforts on these 22 countries to achieve two main targets for 2015: a 90% reduction in the number of children newly infected with HIV and a 50% reduction in the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths.
Mozambique is one of the Global Plan’s 22 priority countries and according to the latest progress report Mozambique has made major strides in providing HIV prevention and treatment services for women and children. The number of women receiving antiretroviral therapy to prevent transmission to their children increased from just 38% in 2009 to 86% in 2012 (under 2010 guidelines). Subsequently the number of new infections among children fell in the same time period from 26 000 to 14 000.
The Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive is an initiative which was launched in 2011 by UNAIDS and the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) at the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS.
It is an honour and complex mission to accept this role in the name of Mozambican women and children. I am convinced we can make substantial success by 2015.
The role of Patron of the Global Plan is a huge responsibility. As First Lady, as a woman, as a mother—your role is so important. You are giving your voice and your name to women without a voice. We count on you to help ensure women will stay healthy and all babies will be born free from HIV in Mozambique by 2015.
I reiterate the full support of the Mozambique government to reach the goals of the Global Plan.
It is time for a political commitment to reduce stigma. It is time for Mozambique to go even further. If we join our forces, we can reach the elimination of mother-to-child transmission.
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