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Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: the first success stories

© UNICEF/Ukraine/2012
A wonderful babygirl has been born with support of UNICEF-supported project specialists

KYIV, 10 November – The stakeholders of the project "Prevention of mother-to-child transmission and improving neonatal outcomes among drug-dependent pregnant women and children born to them" met this week in Kyiv. This project is implemented by ICF "William J. Clinton Foundation" jointly with UNICEF and in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

The main objective of the project is the establishment of gender responsive, comprehensive, and integrated services that address the needs of drug-dependent pregnant women, both HIV-positive and HIV-negative, and children born to them. The project is being implemented in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava.

The purpose of the meeting was presentation and discussion of the mid-term results of the project implementation, the main constraints and future work plans. Around 60 representatives of health care sector, medical institutions, Ukrainian and international civil society organizations participated in the meeting.

In general, since the beginning of the project 54 women have benefited from its services, out of which 39 per cent were HIV-positive, 7 clients learnt their HIV status in the project, 73 per cent used opioid drugs. 13 women became the clients of opioid substitution treatment programme. To date, 36 children were born to the clients of the project. Medical and social services during pregnancy, delivery and in the postnatal period are being provided by a multidisciplinary team of the specialists, trained within the project. Success stories were presented at the meeting, including the stories of the clients who used drugs, did not undergo medical examination and were not followed-up in the medical institutions. After entering the project they started opioid substitution treatment, went through necessary health checks and gave birth to the children with normal weight and development indicators. Social support in solving domestic problems and caring for babies was provided to the women in the framework of the project.

Despite significant successes, there are certain constraints to the project such as limited accessibility to the target group, absence of protocols on the follow-up of drug-addicted pregnant women and treatment of abstinence syndrome in the new-borns, stigmatisation of the target group among medical workers, biased attitude to the opioid substitution treatment programmes. Further steps were defined at the meeting, including continuing awareness raising campaign about the project services, building partnership with organizations, which are providing services to the potential clients (medical institutions, centres of social services for family, children and youth, NGOs), providing necessary equipment for the project implementation sites. It is also planned to scale-up the project in other cities of Ukraine.

Statistical data on "Prevention of mother-to-child transmission"

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About UNICEF: UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the world leader in protecting the rights and interests of children. The Fund operates in over 190 countries and territories to protect and support children from an early age through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Ukraine in 1997. More info at: www.unicef.org.ua. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 
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