Impact of COVID 19 on vertical transmission of infections from mothers to children

mujeres con bebé

Montevideo, March 23, 2023. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) published the regional progress report of the Towards the Elimination of HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Chagas Disease in the Region of the Americas (EMTCT Plus) initiative, with a 10-year assessment that includes some indications of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some conclusions that emerge from this report are:

- The coverage of HIV screening among pregnant women and HIV treatment during antenatal care in Latin America and the Caribbean reached peak values in 2019 followed by sharp reductions in 2020 and 2021.

- Congenital syphilis remains a major challenge. An increase in the incidence of syphilis among different population groups, most concentrated in the young population of reproductive age, have contributed to increase the number of congenital syphilis cases.

- Reductions in the coverage of Hepatitis B vaccination have been observed before the COVID-19 emergence, but have been aggravated during the pandemic, more noticeable among Latin America countries.

- Only a small number of countries are addressing the elimination of Congenital Chagas as part of an integrated approach. Data on the access to interventions including diagnosis and treatment of women and infants are limited.

- It is clear from this that the impact of Covid-19 is evident across the full range of reproductive and maternal and child health interventions, and countries will need extra effort to keep up with the goals of EMTCT Plus.

More information here.