Drive to prevent mother-to-child HIV

Pokhara, January 17

A government campaign to prevent the transfer of HIV from infected mothers to their children is all set to kick off in Kaski.

Kaski District Public Health Office HIV focal person Nanibabu Dhakal said the campaign was scheduled to be launched at the birthing centres of Kaski villages.

As many as 27 health institutes have birthing centres in the district.

Ek Narayan Lamsal, immunisation officer at Kaski Public Health Office, said they would first train the health workers working at the birthing centres for the campaign.

He added that the campaign aimed to eliminate HIV infection among children and reduce the infected mothers’ death due to the virus.

The campaign is under way at three primary health centres, including the Western Regional Hospital.

The government launched the campaign to reduce HIV infection rate among children in collaboration with Global Fund to meet the Millennium Development Goal.

Mim Bahadur Singh, western regional project manager at Save the Children, said the campaign had started in all districts except Manang, Mustang and Parbat in the western region.

He informed that they had launched the crusade with the objective of reducing HIV infection by 50 per cent and minimise infection among children by 90 per cent by 2016.

The campaign primarily conducts HIV test on pregnant women, and if found positive it works to help the mother bear the child free of HIV infection.

If a pregnant woman is HIV-infected, it is highly likely that her newborn will be infected with the virus. Newborn kids are prone to the virus though breastfeeding as well, if the mother is HIV-infected.

Singh also highlighted the urgent need to seek alternative to breastfeeding to save the children from getting infected with the virus though their mothers.

Data at the District Public Health Office showed that as many as 1,975 people were infected with HIV in the district. Of them, 46 are new cases.

HIV test was conducted on 924 pregnant women last year in the western region.

Of them, 56 women were found HIV positive and 49 of them have delivered their babies.