Apr 27, 2012

Efforts to Eliminate Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV Stall in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

AUTHOR:Plus NewsSOURCE:Plus News

Unfortunately, pregnant women in the DRC do not have access to maternal health services for myriad reasons. Some of these challenges include lack of human resources, poor infrastructure, inability to get HIV tested and availability of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. Only 5.6% of HIV-positive pregnant are receiving ARVs to prevent mother-to-child-transmision of HIV (PMTCT) which contributes to a transmission rate of 36.8% from mother to baby. The greatest impediment to eliminate transmission is due to lack of coverage for pregnant women--there is hardly any follow-up for women who have been tested and therefore, their HIV remains unknown to them. The health care system does not function well and requires a top-down and bottom-up strategy to be strengthened. Political will and good governance must exist in order to improve supply chain mangement of drugs, tests and other supplies. Residents from local communities must be mobilized and trained to become health workers. An integrated startegy that addresses HIV as well maternal/reproductive services can ensure imrpoved health care for women and their households. Life for Mothers (LfM)  focuses on a holistic approach that addresses multiple factors that prevent mothers and their children to access services. By untilizing community health workers (CHWs) LfM will be able to monitor mothers who become pregnant to ensure their attendance for antenatal care (minimum-4 visits). Here, at the health center mothers can be tested and treated for multiple conditions, e.g. HIV, malaria, TB, anemia and high pressure. In addition, CHWs can facilitate transport for women which oftentimes is prohibitive in cost. The DRC and other developing countries must appreciate the cost-benefits in preventing a baby from being born free of HIV. These benefits accrue to society as well if the mother is able to undergo a safe delivery of her baby. To read the entire article click here: http://www.plusnews.org/Report/95346/DRC-End-of-mother-to-child-HIV-transmission-still-a-long-way-off

Did you know?

In Africa and South Asia, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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