Story by Kenias Chivuzhe
The country’s health delivery system is continuously improving with huge milestones having been recorded in the maternal health sector, including a reduction in mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Manicaland province has recorded 98 per cent success in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV, surpassing the country’s national average of 93 per cent.
This comes as the country is targeting 100 per cent elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.
Health authorities at Mutambara, Birchenough Bridge and Chipinge hospitals are impressed with the successes recorded in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in Buhera, Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
The partnership between the governments of Zimbabwe and China with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has seen the scaling up of maternal health in districts affected by Cyclone Idai.
Birchenough Bridge Hospital Matron Nicholas Sithole told the ZBC News, “It is now very rare to have a positive baby from a positive mother because of the interventions that are being administered early.”
Sister Ela Saunyama, a nurse, said, “We are encouraging our mothers to book early and we are able to detect complications and infections such as HIV, hence the successes being recorded.”
“Support groups going to communities engaging child and community members and this has improved the uptake of ARVs. We work with almost 120 adolescents who are on ART, but the number is decreasing because of the elimination of mother-to-child transmission,” noted Alice Mwaurayeni, a nurse.
Acting Manicaland Provincial Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Officer, Dr Tendai Nyafesa revealed that the province is among pacesetters with regards to PMTCT coverage in the country.
“With regards to PMTCT coverage, I can say the statistics that we have are above 98 per cent. Most of our mothers are being tested early and are initiated on ART. The exposed babies are also being initiated. So, I am happy that a lot of strides have been realised from this support. We have intensified infant diagnosis where we are testing babies at birth and we are getting results early. In terms of ART coverage and paediatrics, I can safely say we have improved from the previous years,” he said.
With statistics showing that Zimbabwe’s PMTCT coverage is now at 93 per cent, the country is gravitating towards 100 mother-to-child transmission elimination, especially on the backdrop of compulsory HIV testing for all pregnant women.