Country of Operation
- UNICEFForeign aid agency or multilateral organization
SummaryThe Mother-Baby Pack is a take-home box of PMTCT drugs designed for women and children who have limited access to conventional, high-quality preventive care. It contains anti-retroviral drugs and antibiotics to protect one mother and child.
In Kenya 22,000 babies are infected with HIV every year during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. By taking a regimen of strong antiretroviraldrugs (ARVs), pregnant women can greatly reduce the chance that they will transmit HIV to their children. The project will also include programs to increase hospital deliveries and empower HIV-positive women to deal with stigma and discrimination. With pregnant women not able to make the arduous journey for repeat clinical visits, local health workers packed HIV-positive mothers plain paper bags filled with pre-measured drugs, along with instructions on how to take the medicines during and after pregnancy.
Key program components
The Mother-Baby Pack contains the most powerful antiretroviral drugs and antibiotics to prevent transmission of HIV from a mother to her baby. Health workers will distribute Packs to mothers at antenatal clinics throughout the Rift Valley and Nyanza regions in Western Kenya areas where HIV rates are particularly high. Women are instructed on how to use the drugs and antibiotics in the box from 14 weeks of gestation until six weeks after delivery. To aid even illiterate mothers in taking the drugs, the pack is divided into three color-coded sections: Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and After Delivery. The simple yet revolutionary Mother-Baby-Pack can have a significant impact on increasing the number of babies born free of HIV. A pregnant woman’s first antenatal visit is a vital opportunity to be tested for HIV and prevent transmission of the virus to her baby. The Mother-Baby Pack builds on this opportunity by making it easy for mothers to start PMTCT treatment from the first visit – and to continue it throughout their pregnancy and beyond. The pack combines highly efficacious anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs and prophylactic antibiotics for one pregnant woman and her newborn child from 14 weeks of gestation until six weeks after delivery. It promotes easier storage, distribution and management of PMTCT medications, while reducing the chance of pharmaceutical shortages in clinics. Health workers in antenatal clinics will distribute the treatment packs to pregnant women who are living with HIV but do not yet need ARV treatment for their own health. This will help to improve access to PMTCT, particularly for women in remote areas, since they can administer the drugs at home.
Kenya introduced the Mother-Baby Pack as part of its ‘Maisha’ initiative to create a zone free of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. (‘Maisha’ means ‘life’ in Kiswahili.) The initiative aims to eliminate mother-to-child transmission by 2013 in Nyanza and Rift Valley Provinces, where about half of all Kenyan children with HIV live, and by 2015 in the whole country.
Areas of work: Rift Valley and Nyanza in Kenya; Zambia’s Luapula province; Lesotho's Berea District.