99 Percent of Children Born to HIV-positive Mothers in Malaysia Uninfected
INVC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Daluk Rohani Abdul Karim reported that 99 percent of babies born to HIV-infected women in 2011 were uninfected by the virus. She attributed this to the success of Malaysia’s Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program, which focuses on reaching pregnant women, their partners, and infants; and high-risk populations. Since the program’s 1998 launch, implementation improved from 49.7 percent to 100 percent in government health facilities by 2011. Seventy-five percent of public health facilities reported implementation of the program in 2011. The program’s goal is to prevent 100 percent of mother-to-child transmission by 2015. Rohani attributed declines in maternal mortality to increased access to professional care and family planning; maternal mortality dropped from more than 40 per 100,000 live births to 30 per 100,000 live births since 2000. Malaysia was one of the first Asian countries to adopt vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer. In 2010, the health ministry set aside RM 10 million to introduce HPV immunization for 13-year-old girls. Rohani stated that these health initiatives were part of Malaysia’s efforts to achieve developed-nation status by 2020. International agencies and organizations have commended the nation for improving the health and economic welfare of women, according to Rohani.