"); NewWindow.document.close(); return false; }

Limited response to PMTC programme
Tuesday 7 September 2004
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews
 

Regions

Africa
East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
·Angola
·Botswana
·Comoros
·Lesotho
·Madagascar
·Malawi
·Mauritus
·Mozambique
·Namibia
·South Africa
·Swaziland
·Zambia
·Zimbabwe
West Africa
RSSyndication
RSS - News Briefs

Features

PlusNews E-mail Subscription
 

ZIMBABWE: Limited response to PMTC programme


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


HARARE, 17 June (PLUSNEWS) - Zimbabwe's efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children is being undermined by a limited response to the initiative, the head of the programme, Dr Agnes Mahomva, told a national AIDS conference this week.

The government rolled out the first phase of its prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme in 2002. Currently, out of the 53 district hospitals in the country, 43 have started administering free single doses of the drug Nevirapine - which can reduce transmission of the virus by more than half - to HIV-positive expectant mothers.

"The uptake in the programme has been disappointing. In 2002 only 35 percent of the identified mothers [in specific sites] came forward for the programme. For 2003 the uptake increased to 56 percent, but the numbers of children who came for follow-up programmes is 29 percent," said Mahomva. Children who have received Nevirapine are expected to be tested for HIV after 18 months.

The limited response by HIV-positive expectant mothers appears to be rooted in the fear of stigma and discrimination.

"If I stop breast-feeding, I have to explain to my relatives and my husband. I have to disclose my status. I know women who were beaten or divorced just for disclosing their HIV status to their husbands," explained Veronica Mutsumwe, a delegate at the conference. "If there is a chance my child can survive without the programme, I would rather not take part in it than face the wrath of my husband and his relatives."

Another challenge for the programme has been the issue of community mobilisation and male involvement. In all the sites providing PMTC, only 4 percent of men with HIV-positive partners took advantage of counselling services.

"Involving male partners has been also a major challenge in the national problem. We acknowledge that this may be a result of the structures in our services, which are not conducive to male participation, and we are working on this," said Mahomva.

A related problem has been the brain drain that has affected Zimbabwe's public health system as a whole, robbing the programme of trained councillors. "There is limited counselling in antenatal sites and this is a major problem for PMTCT clients," Mahomva noted.

Poverty and Zimbabwe's food security crisis have also played a role. "What's the point of making my child well if I am going to die? I do not even have sufficient food, yet they want to save my baby," said Mutsumwe.

More than 700 delegates are attending the first national conference on HIV and AIDS. The theme of the three-day gathering is "Taking Stock: Looking into the Future".

[ENDS]


 
Recent ZIMBABWE Reports
Innovative bush camps help AIDS orphans,  25/Aug/04
With ARVs beyond reach, rural folk resort to herbs,  25/Aug/04
Tackling the impact of customs on AIDS,  17/Aug/04
Disabled highly vulnerable to HIV,  12/Aug/04
Action against gender inequality needed to defeat AIDS,  6/Aug/04
Links
Guinéenews
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Youth against AIDS
Making A difference for Children Affected by AIDS
Children and AIDS International Non-Government Organisation Network (CAINN)

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

PARTNERS

PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

  • UNAIDS
  • IRIN
  • Inter Press Service (IPS)
  • SAfAIDS
  • PANOS
  • Health Systems Trust
  • Health & Development Networks
  • GTZ/Afronets

[Back] [Home Page]

Click to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004