Health Strengthening/Preventing Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT)

HEALTH STRENGTHENING/ PREVENTING MOTHER TO CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION (PMTCT)

USPG has supported the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) in its preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme since it began in 2014. The programme is now in its second three-year phase and is based at Mvumi Hospital: a mission hospital in Dodoma Rural District, central Tanzania.

Working in collaboration with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, PMTCT’s main objectives are: primary prevention of HIV/AIDS, the prevention of unwanted pregnancy in HIV-positive women, prevention of HIV transmission from HIV-positive mothers to children, and care and support for HIV-positive mothers and their children and families.

Tanzania is one of the African countries most severely affected by HIV/AIDS, and the transmission of the virus from mothers to their babies during pregnancy, birth or whilst breastfeeding is by far the most common means by which children become infected. The PMTCT programme aims to help bring the number of new HIV infections among Tanzanian children down to fewer than 20,000 by 2020. Along with this, it is also committed to ensuring that 95% of pregnant women living with HIV are receiving lifelong HIV treatment.

One side effect of the programme is that the stigma that often surrounds people with HIV is going away. Men used to be reluctant to accompany their partners to HIV clinics, but now more men are accompanying their partners to reproductive and child health services.

The PMTCT programme is just one aspect of the Tanzanian church’s ongoing strategic plan to develop a client-centered system of care that emphasizes quality and effectiveness, and solves some of the persistent access problems faced by people who turn to the church for help with health problems. The health strengthening programme, as it is known, was also launched in 2014.