Prevention of mother-to-child transmission
However, countries are still far from achieving the 80% PMTCT target. More must be done in the areas of primary prevention of HIV in women, antenatal HIV screening and ARV prophylaxis in children born to HIV-infected mothers.
The current implementation strategy for PMTCT straddles across different departments and programmes; thus, PMTCT requires dedicated, well-managed efforts (management, referral and follow-up with different health facilities/services) to become successful.
Although more pregnant women living with HIV are accessing PMTCT services, the status of HIV-exposed newborn infants is not being systematically monitored and reported. Drop-outs or lost to follow-up happen at every step of the PMTCT cascade, including: testing and counselling of pregnant women and their male partners; enrolment in PMTCT services; regular provision of ARV prophylaxis to the mother and the infant; testing of HIV-exposed newborn at 6 weeks, 7.5 months, 12 months and 18 months; CD4 test and antiretroviral therapy (ART) for mothers; and counselling on infant feeding. To address this concern, there is a need to strengthen the health system through creation of operational linkages and more community engagement.