A new project supported by ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for Children Fund is set to develop the role of community Network Support Agents (NSAs) in four districts in Uganda to support women access and use PMTCT and prevent babies from being born with HIV.
The project, Expanding the role of PLHIV and communities in increasing access to PMTCT Services – The Networks Model, seeks to reach over 1.2 million community members and 144,000 pregnant women over three years.
Leonard Okello, Country Director from Alliance Uganda said: “We are excited that the important work the NSAs do will continue thanks to the support of ViiV Healthcare and Positive Action for Children Fund. Mother to child transmission is a major cause of new HIV infections, with 24,000 babies born every year in Uganda with HIV. This is unacceptable. We know that community involvement is critical in changing behaviours and attitudes. This support means that NSAs will be able to reach more mothers and their newborns.”
The project in detail
The project will use community NSAs from over 20 groups and networks of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to help educate and share information about PMTCT in the community. NSAs will support the women to go to health centres to be tested for HIV and follow up with them at home to help the women adhere to their treatment and deliver babies safely and HIV free.
An innovative voucher system is to be introduced to encourage women to
use the health services where vouchers can be used to cover transport
fares and purchasing of maternity needs like mama kits for giving birth
(gloves, buckets, soap, cotton wool and polythene sheet).
The project will also seek to address the problem of the high rate of unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV and improve the level of knowledge of and access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, to enable them to exercise their right to SRH services and prevent unintended pregnancies.
Small grants will also be provided to the PLHIV groups to set up livelihood programmes for people living with HIV and vulnerable households with pregnant women and link them to village savings and loan schemes for access to credit and agricultural advisory services in order to grow and sell produce and generate an income.
Dominic Kemps from ViiV Healthcare said: “The Positive Action for Children Fund is proud to be supporting the Alliance in Uganda; this project is an innovative example of how communities can be mobilised to meet the goals of Countdown to Zero – the elimination of mother to child transmission - by 2015.”
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