May 8, 2009, 5:30 AM
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as part of its activities under the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme, will today conclude a five-day development strategic plan for PMTCT at the National Nutrition Agency.
The weeklong programme funded by UNICEF is expected to serve as a guide to be undertaken under the programme as well as show how to implement the activities.
According to the programme manager of the National Aids Control Programme, Pa Ousman Bah, the meeting was timely. "The PMTCT has a policy, standard operating procedure and training manual in use," he said, adding that the documents have been revised and updated to serve as evidence-based emerging issues.
The development of the document would enhance the implementation of the PMTCT programme and urge the relevant stakeholders to put their input in it. Mbinki Sanneh, Coordinator of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission at the Ministry of Health, said the goal of the PMTCT programme is to halt the spread and mitigate the adverse impact of HIV on mothers, children and their families. "The provision of PMTCT will contribute to the improvement in child survival and development through reduction of HIV-related infant and childhood morbidity and mortality," Mrs Sanneh said.
She pointed out that the provision of PMTCT also "helps to decrease" maternal mortality through the strengthening of antenatal, intra-partum and post-partum services.
She noted that the programme also contributes to the improvement of the length and quality of life of HIV positive women and their families through the provision of treatment, care and support services.
"The overall objective to be realised are to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV from 9.4% in 2006 to 4% by 2014, and to provide access to the prevention of PMTCT to 80% of all pregnant mothers in centres providing PMTCT services," she added.