Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in Makueni, Machakos, and Kibera
The introduction of the "prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS" (PMTCT) - a short course of antiretroviral therapy that prevents transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child - has been hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, a number of barriers hinder women from accessing PMTCT and abiding to PMTCT recommendations, including weak health systems and socio-cultural practices.
A 2001 national survey revealed that 10% of all expectant mothers in Kenya are HIV positive. For many of these women, diagnosis was accidental – they discovered their status during routine visits to antenatal clinics.
In many rural areas, extreme poverty causes a large percentage of women to deliver at home, without knowledge of their HIV status or of how to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS to their babies.
AMREF’s PMTCT program began in September 2005. It was designed to enhance the quality, friendliness, accessibility, and utilization of maternal and child health services in the rural Makueni and Machakos districts, and in Kibera urban slum.
Main objectives of the project
- Provide HIV/AIDS information to the community – particularly to pregnant women and mothers - to reduce cultural barriers to early HIV/AIDS diagnosis
- Provide training to health workers to improve the quality of care and provision of counseling, PMTCT, and antiretroviral therapy
- Work in partnership with the Ministry of Health to improve the quality and distribution of antenatal care, voluntary counseling and testing, PMTCT, and antiretroviral therapy services
- Train and support traditional birth attendants and community health workers to promote health and provide information on HIV/AIDS and safe delivery
- 476 health care providers in Machakos, Makueni and Kibera have been trained in PMTCT, voluntary counseling and testing, and antiretroviral therapy.
- The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS has been reduced through the distribution of community-focussed information and education materials. This has encouraged more women and their partners to seek counseling and testing.
- We have improved health system infrastructure. Comprehensive care clinics have been equipped with 7 blood testing machines; and three health facilities in Makueni and Machakos have been renovated.
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