Mother-to-Child HIV transmission programme to go nationwide
3.8% of pregnant at clinics tested positive

Stabroek News
June 5, 2003

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The Ministry of Health plans to have the HIV/AIDS Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) treatment service established in all regions by year end.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) release, this programme was launched last year and some eight centres now provide treatment for pregnant HIV positive mothers.

The release stated that in a recent interview, Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said that so far results showed that 3.8% of the pregnant women in these centres tested positive for HIV.

He said that July had been earmarked for the launching of the national programme.

According to the GINA release, the minister said that the treatment available to pregnant women entailed the early management and continuous treatment and not merely a single treatment of the woman just before birth.

It involves the provision of anti-retroviral drugs, nutritional care and counselling aimed at caring for the mother for the remainder of her life. Apart from the treatment of the mother-to-be and the unborn child, the ministry plans to focus on administering treatment to the newborns from the time of delivery in an effort to enhance their lives.

The ministry hopes to put in place a programme where it could have access to a test to tell immediately whether a newborn has HIV in order to begin to manage the baby early on.

The release said it was expected that money from a fund recently approved by the US government for severely HIV affected countries could be available for the PMTCT programme in the next eighteen months.

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