News / Africa

PEPFAR Goes Beyond HIV

AIDS2012AIDS2012
x
AIDS2012
AIDS2012

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
U.S. efforts to help those infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa have saved millions of lives. But they’ve had another benefit as well – better care for pregnant women who are not HIV positive.



There’s been a great deal of concern and debate over the years about whether spending a lot of money to fight HIV/AIDS would divert attention from other health problems. So much so, that the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the Centers for Disease Control wanted a definite answer. They asked Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health to find out.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Margaret Kruk, an assistant professor of Public Health and Management, said they collected data from 257 health facilities in eight African countries.

“We don’t have a negative story here that HIV programs have elbowed out HIV-negative women from delivering or for coming for ante-natal care. We don’t have that, which I think is one big take away,” she said.

In fact, it may be just the opposite. PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has not only expanded treatment programs, but has also led to more modern health facilities.

Kruk said, “For example, having a larger HIV program, instead of dissuading women or women being worried about stigma or other things, actually those larger programs tended to have more deliveries by HIV-negative women over time. Our hypothesis here is that women, no matter how poor or whether they’re literate or illiterate, are very concerned about quality of care when it comes to delivery. And many times just the fact that they deliver with a midwife or traditional midwife doesn’t mean they don’t care about quality of care, but often it’s all they can afford. Or perhaps they can’t get to a good enough facility.”

And without quality health care, pregnancy complications can kill. Kruk said 10 to 15 percent of women in sub-Saharan Africa face such complications as obstructed labor and other life-threatening problems.

“High blood pressure, which can come up out of the blue. You could have been healthy your whole pregnancy and then develop that in labor, which can cause seizures. It can kill the mother and the baby. Another very, very common issue in sub-Saharan Africa is post-partum hemorrhage, where after the delivery the woman continues to bleed and can in fact bleed out her whole blood supply. That’s the main killer actually of mothers in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said.

Women may already be anemic before delivery as of result of malaria. So, when they see or hear about a health care facility with modern drugs and equipment they want to take advantage of that.

She said, “Women in rural Africa are not so different from women in New York City and women in Minnesota and women in Florida. You know, all of these women want to survive their delivery. They want the best possible care. It’s just that the big difference is women in Africa don’t have access to the quality of care that they want. And many times when they don’t see that access they would rather stay at home.”

Half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Lowering maternal and newborn mortality rates may be one of the benefits of PEPFAR.

Dr. Kruk said the findings indicate PEPFAR is a success story, adding there’s a major lesson to be learned when providing health care.

“It comes back to quality, quality, quality.”

Kruk added that policymakers face the challenge of “how best to implement HIV services while supporting other essential healthcare.”

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid