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WHO congratulates Sri Lanka for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Syphilis

UNI Dec 12, 2019

World Health Organization has congratulated Sri Lanka for achieving the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.

“Sri Lanka’s achievement once again demonstrates the country’s commitment to public health and builds on the strong foundation of primary health care services that it laid several decades ago,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia in a statement said. She said the country has not reported any case of mother-to-child transmission of HIV since 2017 and its congenital syphilis cases have consistently been two per 100 000 live births, much less than fifty per 100 000 live births needed for elimination certification, as per the findings of the Global Validation Advisory Committee.

Validated for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis in November 2019, Sri Lanka is the third country in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve this after Thailand and Maldives, Dr Khetrapal Singh said. “I would like to particularly commend the health workers for their persistent efforts which have hugely contributed to Sri Lanka achieving EMTCT,” the Regional Director said. High quality maternal and health services, multi-sectoral support, concerted efforts by partners such as WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA and civil society organizations, and strong community engagement, have all contributed to EMTCT, she said.

Elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT), is the latest in the series of public health achievement by Sri Lanka which includes its victory over polio, elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus, malaria elimination, measles elimination and rubella control, and elimination of lymphatic filariasis. The country also leads in novel initiatives for addressing non-communicable diseases and promoting mental health, Dr Khetrapal Singh added.

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