News / Africa

S. Africa Project Improves Treatment for Poor HIV-Positive Pregnant Women

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

In a former township outside of Cape Town, South Africa, there’s a high rate of HIV infection among pregnant women.  Many are unable to get the treatment they need to save their lives and the lives of their children.  But that’s about to change with the launch of a new project that aims to break down barriers to antiretroviral therapy.

The man in charge of the new project is Dr. Landon Myer, an associate professor based at the School of Public Health and the Desmond Tutu HIV Center at the University of Cape Town.  His work centers on the community of Gugulethu.

“It’s a community of about 300,000 people of predominantly low socio-economic status, who live in a context of extreme poverty and with a very high prevalence of HIV infections.  So the prevalence of HIV in this setting is about 28 percent and so HIV presents an incredible problem to the community and to HIV infected women, who are pregnant, in particular,” he says.

Complicated health care

Dr. Myer is the recipient of the International Leadership Award from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. A $300,000 grant will fund his project.  The aim to find the best strategies to allow HIV positive pregnant women to receive antiretroviral therapy.

S. Africa Project Improves Treatment for Poor HIV-Positive Pregnant Women
S. Africa Project Improves Treatment for Poor HIV-Positive Pregnant Women

“The underlying issue,” he says, “is that lifelong antiretroviral therapy is the best form of prophylaxis or prevention of mother-to-child transmission [PMTCT] of HIV.  At the same time, it’s a critical intervention for the health of HIV infected mothers.”

He says many HIV positive pregnant women in Gugulethu fall between the cracks of a dual health care system.  A system fraught with complications and uncoordinated medical appointments.

“The existing antenatal health service, midwife obstetric units they’re called, are very good at providing simple, short course antiretroviral regimens to pregnant women, who are HIV infected, but don’t have advanced disease.  And an entirely separate health service is focused on starting antiretroviral therapy in eligible adults, regardless of whether or not their men or women or pregnant or not pregnant.  And we find that these pregnant women tend to fall between the cracks between these two very different services,” he says.

That lack of coordination makes it difficult for a woman to arrange transportation, child care and time off from work.  Then there are the psychological concerns of starting antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy.

Myer says, “The issues are complicated and often complicated issues require sort of holistic and multifaceted interventions.”

Continental benefits

Success in Gugulethu, he says, could have wide ranging effects throughout the continent.

“If this project is really the success that I think we’re all hoping it will be, we’ll identify interventions, be able to identify interventions that can be generalized to other communities.  Both other communities in South Africa, but other communities across sub-Saharan Africa because this is, I believe, one of the real key issues facing PMTCT and HIV care and treatment globally,” he says.

Since 2002, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has awarded more than $5 million in grants to 13 recipients in 9 countries as part of its International Leadership Award.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid