Project to stop mother-to-child HIV transmission for June start

Stabroek News
February 22, 2001

More than 100 nurses in East Berbice last week benefited from three one-day sensitisation workshops aimed at tutoring them in stopping mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The workshops were organised by the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Secretariat and the Maternal Child Health Care Department and were held at the Mission Chapel Family Life Centre in New Amsterdam.

According to co-coordinator of the workshops, Sigrid Musa, Health Education Officer of the National AIDS Programme, the three entities have launched a mother-to-child intervention pilot programme which will begin June 1 in Regions Four and Six. Similar workshops were already held in Region Four. According to Musa, the programme will be conducted at the New Amsterdam and Georgetown hospitals and six health centres in the two regions.

"Mothers attending clinics," she said "will be encouraged to take an HIV test on a voluntary basis. If the mother agrees to the test, she will be counselled before and after testing. If she is tested positive, she will be monitored by the health centre or hospital staff," she explained.

"The mother will then be given treatment during the last phase of her pregnancy to prevent transmission and will be encouraged not to breast-feed her baby." The baby born to an infected mother will be fed a breast milk substitute, she said.

The treatment, she noted, will be free of cost since the government has pledged to provide all the medication for the programme. "We are trying to decrease the incidence of mother-to -child transmission in Guyana for the next couple of years," she said.

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