Govt intensifies war on HIV/AIDS
By Moses Mulondo and John Odyek
The Government has rolled out a new intervention dubbed Option B+ to further cut down on mother to child HIV transmission by 90% in 2015.
The health minister, Dr. Christine Ondoa, announced the new intervention on Tuesday at the Media Centre during which she sounded a wake-up call to the country to rise up and fight HIV/AIDS. The prevalence rate has risen to 7.3% from 6.4% in 2005.
Flanked by director general of health services Dr. Jane Aceng, Ondoa noted with regret that with an average of 30% mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission, about 26,400 Uganda babies got infected with HIV/AIDS in 2011.
The Government started a robust Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) in 2012 using AZT prophylaxis, which is referred to as Option A.
Whereas Option A only provides anti-retroviral therapy only during pregnancy, Option B+ promotes continuous antiretroviral treatment for life for all positive women even after pregnancy.
“This means that of the estimated 264,000 expected infections among exposed babies, less than 2,000 should become infected with HIV.
In 2012, only 16,000 got infected. This means that in one year, the PMTCT programme averted 10,400 HIV infections among children,” Ondoa said.
The minister announced that free PMTCT services will be available in public hospitals and all health centre IVs, most health centre IIIs and 15% of health centre IIs.
Ondoa revealed that Uganda has received about sh6.6b from the US and another sh15.8b from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to boost the implementation of Option B+ programme to curb mother to child transmission of HIV.
The US government will also avail about sh40b each year for the next five years.
The Ministry of Health and the office of the First Lady will launch Option B+ on Friday at Itojo Hospital in Ntungamo.
The theme for the launch is: “Stand out, participate, be counted, have an HIV free baby.”
Ondoa urged Ugandans to go for HIV testing, all pregnant women to go for antenatal care early, post natal care for breastfeeding mothers and ensuring that all pregnant women deliver in a healthy facility.