The transmission of HIV from mother to child during the birthing process can be largely prevented by the administration of ARV drugs. But, the newborn must start receiving medication within 24 hours after birth to be most effective. In Zambia, only 22.1% of infants born at home to HIV+ mothers receive the medication they need because it is difficult to get the medicine to them. In our first round of seed funding, we have shown that the Pratt Pouch, a foilized, polyethylene pouch - something like a fast-food ketchup pouch - can store antiretroviral medication for a year, that African pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can accurately fill and seal the pouch, and that HIV+ mothers can open and accurately administer the pouches in a controlled, clinical setting. With our novel solution, if the mother is unable or unwilling to travel to the hospital to deliver, she can tear open the pouch and provide the drugs to her infant, preventing the newborn from becoming HIV+. In this new study, we will train PMTCT healthcare workers and lay counselors in five remote health facilities in the district of Siavonga in Zambia. Our objective is to integrate the pouch into the healthcare system such that every HIV+ mother at risk of giving birth at home during the study period, and served by the five clinics under observation, receives the pouch. Ultimately, we will show that the Pratt Pouch can increase the percentage of infants born at home to HIV+ mothers receiving ARVs.
More information about Saving Lives at Birth (Round 3)