ICAP has been awarded funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to strengthen pediatric HIV services in Kenya and Tanzania through the Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) initiative. Launched in 2014, ACT is an ambitious initiative to double the number of children receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy across ten priority African countries by 2016.
Currently, there are over two-and-a-half million children under the age of 15 living with HIV around the world, yet only a third of these children are receiving antiretroviral therapy. While there have been great strides in the scale-up of HIV care and treatment in general, there is still a long way to go to ensuring that HIV-infected children have access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment.
Kenya and Tanzania are two priority countries with limited access to pediatric treatment.
In Kenya, ICAP will partner with the Ministry of Health and local organizations to support key stakeholders and health facilities to increase HIV testing and counseling, improve linkage and enrollment for HIV-positive children, increase access to quality HIV care and treatment, and improve HIV treatment outcomes among infants, children and adolescents in Machakos, Makueni, Siaya, and Kisumu counties.
In Tanzania, ICAP will provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to improve HIV testing and counseling among children and adolescents. ICAP will support the development of a pediatric HIV testing and counseling toolkit and work with partners to integrate quality improvement techniques in pediatric HIV testing and counseling service delivery.
“Reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal requires a concerted and sustained effort to address the health care needs of infants and children,” said Dr. Elaine Abrams, senior director of research at ICAP and principal investigator of the project. “The work being done through the ACT Initiative should both dramatically increase the number of children receiving lifesaving treatment and contribute to fundamental changes in how we identify, engage and retain children in HIV care.”