The Management of Ninewells Hospital met with the Regional Validation Team of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National STD/AIDS Control Programme (NSACP) of the Ministry of Health to assist the country’s efforts in eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in Sri Lanka.
The Regional Validation Team visited the island to review and verify data submitted by the NSACP on the country’s progress in eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis and visited Ninewells Hospital as part of the program.
Sharing his thoughts, Chief Operating Officer and Medical Director of Ninewells Hospital, Dr. Vibash Wijeratne said, “Ninewells Hospital is committed to safeguarding the welfare and wellbeing of mothers and children in Sri Lanka. Over the years we have been working closely with local authorities to help the country reach the highest standards in the region when it comes to mother and childcare. This cause is, therefore, directly linked to the core of what we do. We are pleased to assist the WHO and NSACP in the process of obtaining the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis (EMTCT) validation certificate and contributing to uplifting the health standards of our country.”
Ninewells Hospital is Sri Lanka’s leading women and childcare hospital and accounts for over 50% of the deliveries carried out by hospitals in the country’s private sector. During their visit, the Regional Validation Team from the WHO conducted an extensive meeting with the Hospital’s Senior Management and toured the hospital’s wards and laboratory to better understand their practice.
“Sri Lanka scaled up their efforts to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis in line with the international and regional goals set by the global community and have made immense progress in this respect over the past few years.As the only private hospital in the women and childcare segment to be selected for this program we are glad to extend our fullest support to the NSACP and the WHOto cement the outcome of this initiative,” said Tharanga Weerasuriya, General Manager – Ninewells Hospital.
According to the 2019 National Validation Report on Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis by the NSACP, Sri Lanka has shown significant improvements in detection and management of HIV and syphilis in pregnant women in recent times. Statistics affirm that mother-to-child transmission rates have fallen well below the global elimination target of less than five per100,000 live births. In 2018, sixteen women living with HIV received treatment during pregnancy and their new-borns remain free of infection. The annual rate of congenital syphilis was 1.5 per 100,000 live births last year with 97% of pregnant women with syphilis having received treatment. Moreover, the screening coverage of pregnant women with HIV was 95.2% in 2017 and 95.9% in 2018. For syphilis the rates improved from and 96.9% in 2017 to 99.3% in 2018.