Did you join the rest of the world to commemorate World AIDS DAY 2012? If you did, did you take a moment to reflect on and celebrate the great job that you and SUSTAIN are doing to give hope to those who had once lost it and are currently embracing positive living?
In the first two years of the SUSTAIN project, over 90% of HIV-infected pregnant women at SUSTAIN-supported hospitals received ARVs, and more than 90% of HIV-exposed infants received medication to prevent opportunistic infections. The number of HIV-infected pregnant women enrolled in care has risen from 49% to 71%.
Did I hear some applause?You are one of the frontline actors that have for the past two years supported the SUSTAIN project to combat pediatric HIV. Your concerted efforts to provide prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) counseling sessions for women (including nutrition counseling) have helped them to adopt risk-reducing behaviors. You have creatively initiated support groups for them and their families, engaged them in birth planning, involved male partners in counseling and support, and actively followed-up those who do not return for care. SUSTAIN provided you with support through on-site training, mentorship, and tools to ensure effective PMTCT interventions and used the science of quality improvement (QI) to implement hospital-initiated changes that advanced PMTCT processes.
Don’t we all deserve a pat on the back? Now that we have diligently contributed towards the implementation of PMTCT programs; ensured early HIV diagnosis by testing infants and at-risk children; and provided high-quality care and treatment services, including psychosocial services, for HIV-infected children, what new game-changing strategies should we bring on board to improve our services? Over the coming years, what should we do more/less of or differently so that HIV services are streamlined and delivered to those who are in most need of them?