A new campaign to reduce the number of mother –to-child HIV transmissions, as well as boosting the survival chances of infected mothers, was yesterday launched in Kampala.
Dubbed, “Optimising access to simplified HIV treatment to reduce new infections among women in Uganda”, the project targets mothers in 19 districts in south-western Uganda, Karamoja and eastern Uganda which are said to have a higher prevalence rate of HIV but with less interventions.
According to the national HIV/Aids indicator survey 2012, at least 16,000 babies were born with HIV in 2011 alone.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Kampala on Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative, Dr Sharad Sapra, said: “There is no reason why 16,000 babies should be born with HIV when we know how it happens and how to prevent it.” “We only need to implement the scientifically-proven interventions like option B+ to prevent further infections of babies by treating mothers early with ARTS,” Dr Sapra added.
The Shs5 billion two-year project will support the on-going national Option B+ roll-out that seeks to eliminate the transmissions. Dr Godfrey Esiru, the national PMTCT coordinator in the Ministry of Health, said: “The ministry will launch this strategy in south-western Uganda next month. We will then spread the roll out to Karamoja and we hope to have covered the entire country by June this year,” Dr Esiru said.