The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recognized Cuba as the first country to eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child. Margaret Chan, MD, director-general of WHO, calls this breakthrough “one of the greatest public health achievements possible.” These measures simultaneously eradicated the transmission of syphilis from mother to child in Cuba, WHO noted.
WHO counts a country as having eliminated mother-to-baby transmissions when the rate of children born with HIV or syphilis is so low that it “no longer constitutes a public health problem.”
Anna Lucia D’Emilio, Regional Advisor, Excluded Population/Regional Focal Point, UNGEI
UNICEF Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean (TACRO), who has been on location in Cuba, says, “The UN has participated in the validation committee.” In response to questions about Cuba’s methods for achievning such a remarkable outcome with a relatively small budget, she says, “With an excellent primary health care system.”
“Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as HIV,” said Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization.
Cuba has a history of successful health milestones. Cuba was the first country to successfully eradicate wild poliovirus.