Mumbai: Wadia hospital starts Paediatric ART Center for treating children with HIV

Updated: Sep 28, 2019, 11:50 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The Paediatric ART Center of Wadala hospital will also provide free medicines for all HIV infected children

The hospital houses one of the oldest Pediatric HIV OPD in the city of Mumbai
The hospital houses one of the oldest Pediatric HIV OPD in the city of Mumbai

In the month of September, in order to bring an end to the HIV epidemic, Mumbai-based Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children started a Paediatric ART Center for treating children with HIV. The hospital came up with the unique public-private partnership (PPP) model of Paediatric ART center in association with NACO which was inaugurated by Dr. Srikala Acharya of Mumbai District AIDS Control Society.

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is also popularly known as HIV, is a virus that tends to breaks down certain cells in one's immune system (your body's defense against diseases that helps you stay healthy). The causes of HIV can be attributed to blood transfusion, sexual abuse, and also there is a possibility that children can acquire HIV from their parents. Due to the lack of treatment, and awareness of HIV, a person suffering from HIV is likely to suffer from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). At present, there is no cure for HIV, but with the help of antiretroviral therapy, it can be well-managed.

Dr. Ira Shah, a leading pediatric infectious diseases specialist who has been looking after HIV infected children since 2001 will be heading the Paediatric ART center started by Wadia hospital. While speaking at the launch, Dr. Ira said, "With the establishment of the Paediatric ART center at B J Wadia Hospital for Children in Mumbai, children with HIV can get a holistic pediatric treatment under one roof with the help of a team of experts. Earlier, around 1.5percent infants in Mumbai would get HIV from their mother. But now the percentage is lesser than that."

Every year, Wadia Hospital sees several newly diagnosed HIV pediatric patients every month. In addition, it sees follow up patients in the oldest Pediatric HIV OPD in the city of Mumbai at Wadia Children Hospital. She further added, "At the moment, the number of kids with HIV has decreased due to preventive program. But there are still a lot of children who are undiagnosed.

Dr. Ira highlights, "Hence, pediatric patients with HIV and associated infections will get free HIV medicine - as well as complete Paediatric services for managing opportunistic infections and it's comorbidities as Wadia hospital has all the facilities related to pediatric care."

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Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO, Wadia Hospitals said, "The Paediatric and Perinatal HIV clinic at B J Wadia Hospital for Children is the first pediatric HIV service in the city of Mumbai that was started in 1996. Till date, the clinic has treated more than 900 HIV infected children and has prevented HIV in over 1400 babies born to HIV infected mothers. With the help of NACO and MDAC, now free ART will be available to all HIV infected children as part of PPP Paediatric ART center at B J Wadia Hospital for Children."

She further said, "Even before prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT) of HIV was available in the country, Wadia Hospital for children was offering the PPTCT programme and had brought down the transmission rate from 40 percent to <2 percent in these patients. Constant research in the field of HIV from this institute has helped in various guidelines and updates in the field of HIV."

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