Ondoa: We Want An HIV-Free Baby Nation

information pills clinic geneva;”>sildenafil sans-serif;”>“The eMTCT Option B+ promotes antiretroviral treatment for life for all HIV positive pregnant women. This means that a woman who tests positive during pregnancy will be started on ARVs right away and she will continue for the rest of her life, prostate ” said Ondoa.

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Office of the First Lady has organized a National Launch of Option B+ for Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission at Facility Level on March 22, 2013 at Itojo Hospital Grounds, Ntungamo District.

The theme for the day is “Stand out, participate, be counted, Have an HIV Free Baby”. The First Lady and the Champion for eMTCT will be the Guest of Honour.

According to the 2011 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey (UAIS), 7.3% of adults in Uganda are living with HIV and 0.6% of children under age five are infected.


“About 1.3 million people are living with HIV, and an estimated 145,000 new infections are occurring each year. Of these, Mother to child transmission contributes 16,000 (11%) of these new infections,” added Ondoa at a press conference Monday in Kampala.

The survey also indicates that 8.3 percent (765,000) of women of child bearing age are infected, compared to 6.1percent (625,000) amongst men. The number of children estimated to be living with HIV is 188,000.

In 2012, 1.6 million pregnancies occurred where 5.5percent of these were estimated to be living with HIV, translating to 88,000 pregnant women whose babies were at risk of acquiring HIV. With an average transmission rate of 30 percent, it is estimated that about 26,400 babies would get infected with HIV in 2012 alone through MTCT without intervention.

However, Ondoa remarked that the testing amongst women has gone up from 13 percent in 2004 to 66 percent in 2011, and this increase is largely attributed to integration of HIV Counseling and Testing into Antenatal care (ANC).

“Our latest global plan is towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission.

But this vision of elimination of mother-to-child transmission is only possible with the active participation of Ugandans,” added Ondoa.

She said the government’s eMTCT strategy involves reducing the risk of HIV transmission from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, labor, delivery and breastfeeding to less than 5 percent nationally.

This strategy is aimed at reducing transmission of HIV from the infected mothers to their children by 90 percent by 2015.

This means that of the estimated 26,400 expected infections amongst exposed babies, less than 2,000 should become infected with HIV. In 2012, 16,000 got infected. This implies that in one year alone, the PMTCT program averted 10,400 HIV infections amongst children.

“In addition to reducing new infection in children, Option B+ offers some other benefits such as keeping HIV infected mothers alive and healthy, having an HIV free baby, reducing orphanhood, reducing transmission of HIV to the negative spouse in a discordant relationship and harmonizing PMTCT and ART programs, hence simplifying programming.

This Option B+ will also improve on the adherence and treatment outcomes, motivate health workers, accelerate achievement of universal access and will contribute to move towards achievement of MDG 3, 4, 5 and 6.These EMTCT services are provided in all hospitals.

“The country received $25m for Option B+ program from the US government. An additional $6m has also been provided from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to boost the program for two years while the US government will provide $15m each year for the next five years, said Ondoa.

She added that in April 2012, the Ministry of Health pronounced itself on commencement of Option B+ and its actual implementation started in September 2012. The First Lady, Janet Museveni launched the Option B+ Implementation Guidelines during the 6th National Paediatric Conference in September 2012 at Hotel Africana.

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