The UN resident coordinator Kiki Gbeho on Saturday said access to HIV treatment and essential services has improved in Africa.
“For the first time more than half of all people living with HIV in Africa – 14 million people – have access to life-saving HIV treatment,” Gbeho said at the commemoration of World Health Day in Havana.
The theme was, “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.” Between 2010 and 2016, new cases of malaria dropped by 20 percent and there were fewer deaths due to malaria, noted Gbeho. In 2010, only three percent of children were vaccinated to prevent pneumonia and meningitis and by 2016 this had risen to 65 percent. “Nearly two-thirds of children on the continent were protected from developing these diseases,” said Gbeho. Moreover, in 2016, the risk of developing pneumonia and meningitis reduced for nearly two-thirds of children on the continent because they were vaccinated compared to only three percent in 2010. In 2012, Africa accounted for over 50 percent of polio cases globally.
“The good news is that since August 2016, the region has not reported a case of wild poliovirus,” added Gbeho. She said that much more remains to be done and countries must therefore strive to improve health governance, financing and information systems to ensure better regulation, planning and accountability to their communities and partners.