The prevention of mother-to-child transmission, in short nkown as the (PMTCT) is aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV from HIV positive mothers to their infants during pregnancy, labour, delivery and breastfeeding. It involves the use of antiretroviral drugs, safer infant feeding practices and other interventions.
An official of the Elizabeth Glasar of the Paediatric AIDS Foundation, Dr Tichaona Nyamundaya, told reporters at the weekend:“This number is very high and unacceptable and it’s time for us to join hands and work together to prevent new AIDS transmission from mothers to these innocent new souls. What makes this situation very disappointing is that we have the medicines in our hospitals.”
The Foundation is teaming up with the Ministry of Health and Child welfare in developing a strong communication and advocacy strategy targeting different groups such as pregnant mothers and health workers, policy makers and the media, with a hope of addressing this situation.
According to the United Nations Population Fund Zimbabwe has a maternal mortality ratio of 725 per 100 000 live births, the highest in the region, translating to 2500 women dying each year or eight a day.
Other factors attributed to high infant and maternal mortality rates include poor outreach programmes for pregnant mothers in remote areas and negligence by nurses.