Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
Women living with HIV/AIDS can transmit the virus to their unborn or newborn baby during pregnancy, delivery or through breastfeeding (vertical transmission).
Most of the more than 90,000 Mozambican children under the age of 15 living with HIV/AIDS were infected through vertical transmission. More than half of them die before their first birthday.
In 2005, around 140,000 HIV-positive women will become pregnant in Mozambique. At least 3 in every 10 of them will transmit the virus to their child, if no intervention takes place.
If a pregnant woman living with HIV/AIDS participates in a Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme, the risk of transmission can be halved.
Major Activities Supported by UNICEF
The Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF, set up a Prevention of Mother-to-Children Transmission (PMTCT) programme in 2000. A pregnant woman seeking ante-natal care will go through the following stages:
• Counseling on the risk of vertical HIV/AIDS transmission.
UNICEF has been involved in shaping and expanding the PMTCT programme. 20 out of the current 44 PMTCT sites in the country were established with UNICEF support. These services are located in the provinces with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence.
Since inception, the PMTCT programme has grown rapidly. More women are coming forward to be tested for HIV/AIDS. As many women give birth at home, Nevirapine is now given to all women participating in the PMTCT programme during their last counseling session with instructions on how to use it.