In order to assess progress and boost the HIV response, a first Forum had been organized from October 24-26, 2016 by the Ministry of Public Health with the support of UNICEF, CDC/PEPFAR, UNAIDS, and WHO, CIRCB and other partners. The workshop brought together experts with strong policy and program management backgrounds, implementation professionals, and beneficiaries. International experts in the field of MTCT elimination and pediatric HIV care were also mobilized to share their experiences in translating policy changes into effective national programs at scale-a major priority in Cameroon.
Management of mother-to-child transmission.
At the end of this Forum, a “Yaoundé Call to Action” was launched and defined the priority actions to be implemented at different levels to accelerate progress towards eMTCT and to improve coverage in pediatric/adolescent HIV care. Cameroon has subscribed to the 90-90-90 Goals and the global strategy ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free’ to eliminate AIDS by 2030. Reforms have been made and progressively implemented such as the proposal of “systematic screening at all health facility entry points”, “Treatment for All” regardless of clinical or immunological stage, and the transformation of PMTCT sites into comprehensive antiretroviral care sites. Progress has been made but remains insufficient.
Achieving the targets for PMTCT and antiretroviral treatment for children requires the consideration and mobilization of a coalition of all actors (public, private sector, civil society, community, people living with HIV, donors) under the leadership of the government to monitor progress. It is therefore crucial to bring these actors together to measure the progress made since the first forum and to project a common vision for achieving the 90-90-90 targets.
In addition, the dual intervention of the community (through community-based organizations, psychosocial agents, community leaders, related sectors and civil society in general) and the hospital (through the health services) is indispensable for dealing with HIV/AIDS and sustaining the response.
The purpose of the second Forum will be to take stock of the level of implementation of the recommendations of the Yaoundé Call to Action and to define priority actions to accelerate the achievement of the eMTCT goals, and the 90-90-90 goals for children and adolescents by 2020.