Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
The virus responsible for HIV/AIDS can be transmitted from the mother to her child either during childbirth or through breastfeeding. At Uzima Centre we offer special assistance to all HIV positive women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. There are precautions that can be taken to reduce the odds of the baby becoming infected. Women learn where the designated hospitals are that specialize in deliveries for HIV positive mothers. They learn about the pros and cons of breastfeeding their babies. Together they share their stories and learn from one another. What do you tell your mother-in-law who doesn't know your are HIV positive when she asks you why you aren't breastfeeding? How can you know for sure that your baby isn't HIV positive? These sharings also give us an opportunity to encourage the women to try and plan their pregnancies. If a woman can wait until her CD4 count (an indicator of the health of her immune system) is high enough before getting pregnant, there is a lesser chance that the baby will be infected. Regardless of the situation, we are there for them and they know that they are not alone.
What a joy it is to see a mother deliver a healthy HIV negative baby!
Not only will the baby have a better chance at a healthy life but it means that the mother will not be burdened with the demands of a sick child, especially with her own health to worry about.
This is all possible through proper education and assistance. Many of these women become counselors to others who are in similar situations.