By KALOBWE BWALYA
THE implementation of the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT) project in five health facilities in Lusaka has prevented 1,185 babies from being infected with HIV, says Lusaka Town Clerk Alex Mwansa.
Mr Mwansa said babies within the catchment areas of the five health facilities were protected from contracting HIV during the implementation of eMTCT project under the Fast Track Cities (FTC) project between October 2017 and October 2018.
The five health facilities where the project was implemented are Chipata, Kanyama Chawama, Chaisa and Mtendere.
Mr Mwansa said this when he presented the Lusaka report at the on-going London Fast Track Cities Round Table Forum in London, United Kingdom.
“The eMTCT has scored a number of achievements as evidenced by both facility/community based organisations (CBOs) data and reports from beneficiaries of the project,” Mr Mwansa said.
He said women and their partners were sensitised together in communities on eMTCT strategies and their benefits. He said couples intending to have children now knew the importance of booking early for ante-natal clinics. He said during the same period, HIV status disclosure rate was reported to have gone up, resulting in drastic reduction of self-stigma and defaulting.
The other achievement reported was the improved adherence to treatment as the five health facilities reported the increase in mothers taking their babies for all routine HIV tests at appointed times – at birth, at six weeks, at six months, at nine months, at 12 months and at 18 months.
Mr Mwansa said counselling of couples also led to most clients readily accepting their status and begin treatment for the benefit of their babies and for themselves. The project also recorded an improvement in the number of HIV positive mothers breastfeeding their babies exclusively.
Lusaka is one of the Fast Track Cities around the globe which are all striving to end HIV epidemics in their communities by 2030.
The London Fast Track Cities 2019 is taking place from September 8 to 11 and it is organised by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPA) and Gilead Sciences.