Maldives eliminates mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Syphilis

World Health Organisation (WHO) have certified Maldives as one of the countries that have eliminated HIV and syphilis transmission from mother to child.

The certificate was awarded during a special event held in capital Male' by Dr. Poonam Khetrapal, WHO's South - East Asia Regional Director. The certification was received by Maldives Vice President Faisal Naseem.

While Maldives is the second country in the South - East Asian region to eliminate transfer of HIV and Syphilis from mother to child, Maldives is the 12th country to achieve this certificate in the world.

This is the fourth certificate awarded to Maldives by the WHO for eliminating a communicable disease. Previously Maldives achieved certificate for eliminating malaria, filaria and measles. WHO also declared the South East Asian region of being free of polio and tetanus in infants.

Work to achieve elimination of HIV and syphilis was started in the Maldives in 2014. Health Ministry revealed that a National Validation Committee was established to work according to the standards established by WHO to achieve elimination. In the beginning of 2018 a national wide survey was conducted to gather information and identify if the policies being followed were in accordance with the established standards. In this regard, the number of pregnant women who went in for prenatal checkups, and the number of people who were tested for HIV and Syphilis during pregnancy were identified.

A national report was compiled and submitted to the WHO in 2018. A regional validation team was sent to Maldives to inspect health centers and hospitals and to acquire information on how program to spread awareness on pregnancy, child birth and children, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are conducted, said the Health Ministry.

Regional validation team then submitted their report on Maldives to the Global Verification Committee. WHO certification of Maldives’ follows confirmations and validations by national, regional and global teams that no woman or infant was detected with HIV or syphilis in the country in the last two years.

Even though Maldives received the certificate in eliminating transmission of HIV and syphilis between mother and child, WHO will be conducting serial inspections to see if the elimination is maintained stated the Health Ministry.