“An estimated 47 000 HIV-positive women will become pregnant in 2011, with about 14 000 new paediatric infections predicted,” Madzorera said.
“Out of the estimated 47 000 HIV-infected pregnant women in 2011, about 15 000 children will become infected with HIV without any intervention.
“However, with high quality of PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) interventions, this figure can be reduced to 2 350.”
At least 150 000 children below the age of 15 are living with HIV in the country, with more than 90% of them having acquired HIV from their mothers.
Madzorera said his ministry was exploring ways of increasing funding for Aids programmes next year as the number of people, including pregnant women on ARVs was increasing.
Unfortunately, children have largely been excluded from HIV vaccine research over the years because of the need to first demonstrate the vaccine’s efficacy in adults.
More than 190 vaccine trials have been completed to date, with less than 2% of the trials having included children.
The focus has been on PMTCT as a preliminary and cost effective measure.
Although Zimbabwe failed to access the Global Fund Round 10, the government recently received a timely boost through an award by London-based Children’s Investment Fund (CIF) to the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation (Egpaf).