Moroto (Agenzia Fides) – In Morilinga, in the district of Moroto, region of Karamoja, international agencies, NGOs and local associations have come together to share strategies and commitments for the elimination of HIV from mother to child (Emtct). The new strategic intervention, called OptionB +, was recently adopted by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. It is a simplified therapeutic protocol to reduce vertical transmission of HIV, as well as mortality among HIV-positive women and among babies exposed to infection. In a statement sent to Fides Agency, the organization Doctors with Africa Cuamm declares that the campaign has been launched in some areas of the country identified as urgent on the basis of HIV prevalence. Among these, the Karamoja region where Cuamm is the main partner of UNICEF in the implementation of the project which was officially presented.
The intervention concerns all 7 districts in the region with the main objective to strengthen the primary health care system for the provision of services for the prevention of mother to child transmission and adequate maternal and neonatal health services. The planned activities range from the training of the local staff on antiretroviral treatment to the strengthening of monitoring births in real-time of HIV-positive women for babies who require prophylaxis. Cuamm will also intervene in the provision of additional equipment where necessary, and implementation of mobile clinics to assist women who live more than five kilometers away from health center. The communities have involved local authorities religious leaders and health workers in the project and are committed to the formation of support groups. "Working in this area is very difficult", the statement said. "The population is composed mostly by semi-nomadic herders. Every month 100 HIV-positive women give birth in Karamoja without access to preventive services for vertical transmission and every month 24 babies exposed to the infection become infected with HIV. Half of them die within 12 months if they are not treated with antiretrovirals". (AP) (Agenzia Fides 18/09/2013)