The National Aids Control Organisation (NACO)’s ‘Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission’ (PPTCT) programme has just received a shot in the arm, quite literally.
A new medical treatment, set to be introduced from January 2014, promises to bring down the chances of an HIV-positive mother passing on the virus to her unborn child to just two per cent, down from a high 15 per cent risk that currently exists.
Till now, the PPTCT programme provides a single-dose Nevirapine to pregnant mothers during delivery and to the baby, within 48 to 72 hours of birth. This process had successfully brought down HIV transmission rates from 30 per cent (before 2005) to 15 per cent at present.
But the new treatment, which consists of three drugs in one single pill to be given to an expecting mother twice a day from the 14th week of her pregnancy till as long as she breastfeeds her child -- promises to bring down the transmission rate from 15 per cent to an astonishing two per cent.
The programme is going to be launched in Maharashtra from January 1, through the Maharashtra State Aids Control Society. The pilot project for the treatment was launched in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by NACO earlier this year and found to be successful.
Dr Mamta Manglani, Professor and Head, Paediatrics as well as Programme Director, Paediatric Centre of Excellence at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (LTMGH), Sion, told Sunday Mid Day, “All the training procedure of the staff has already been started and by the end of December we would be ready to launch the programme.”
Echoing her sentiments, Dr. Y S Nandanwar, head of gynaecology at Sion hospital said, “The training of nurses and doctors have started and we are creating awareness about this new regime across the hospital. At present we are waiting for the medicine to come to the NACO. Once it reaches our hospital, the programme will be launched.”
Incidentally the LTMGH at Sion itself has 2,200 children registered with them and out of that 780 are on Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART).
2006 -- the LTMG hospital is named the regional paediatric ART centre under NACO.
December 2011 -- LTMG declared as Paediatric Centre of Excellence for HIV Care, one of the seven such centres across India.