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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid