November 4, 2008
Ugandan Program Targets Mother-to-Child Transmission
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)—a global leader in the fight against AIDS—is piloting a home-based prevention approach in Uganda by educating HIV-positive mothers how to administer antiretroviral medications to their infants at home, The New Vision reports. In many developing countries, women often deliver babies outside health facilities and don’t have access to postnatal checkups.
According to the article, EGPAF is repackaging the drug neverapine in syringes for mothers to give infants they have delivered on their own. The drug comes in a kit that is white inside and opaque on top to protect the medication from damaging sun rays. The syringe will have a cap, which will close after drawing the neverapine from the bottle to prevent waste.
“This is a big challenge because we need to give it to a mom in a way that it won’t expire. It is pointless to give it to the mother in early pregnancy as it may expire before the baby comes,” said EGPAF’s technical director Edward Bitarakwate, MD, MPH. “We are giving them home neverapine because we have failed to address the factors that deter mothers from delivering [in] hospitals.”
Mother-to-child transmission in Uganda is the second major mode of HIV transmission; it accounts for 15 percent of infections in children younger than 2 years old. An estimated 110,000 children are living with HIV/AIDS in the country. When given immediately after birth, the pediatric formulation of neverapine syrup reduces chances of transmission by 50 percent.
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