News / Africa

PEPFAR Goes Beyond HIV

AIDS2012AIDS2012
x
AIDS2012
AIDS2012
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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More