At a ceremony in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, attended by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominque Ouattara, has awarded the Dominique Ouattara Prize for Excellence to six service providers making a significant contribution to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.

In the category for the area providing excellence in service, the San Pedro district received first prize, with Grand Lahou coming second. In the category for top performing civil society organization, the Organisation des Femmes Actives de Côte d’Ivoire received first prize, while Femme Egale Vie came second. Amah Yolande and Louis Saba received prizes for the excellence of their work as community service volunteers.

Côte d’Ivoire has made rapid progress in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV by scaling up treatment coverage across the country. The proportion of pregnant women receiving antiretroviral medicines to prevent their children being born with the virus reached 80% at the end of 2014, up from around 50% at the end of 2012. The total number of new HIV infections in Côte d’Ivoire has fallen from around 52 000 in 2000 to 25 000 in 2014.

Ms Ouattarra is a Special Advocate for UNAIDS, helping to raise awareness for programmes aimed at preventing new HIV infections among children and advocating for women and children living with HIV to access antiretroviral therapy.

Quotes

“I carry my title as Special Advocate for UNAIDS with pride and so it was important for me to acknowledge the work already accomplished in the response to HIV, particularly among women and children. I hope these awards further encourage everyone working towards the noble aim of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.”

Dominque Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire

“Côte d’Ivoire can be one of the first countries in western Africa to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Let these prizes, the first of their kind on the continent, further strengthen our commitment to an AIDS-free generation in Africa.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director