The Option B plus approach to the Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT), has received a boost of 3 million US dollars per year, to help scale the programme throughout the country.
These new lease of finances will come from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida)- but the implementation of the programmes will be a joint venture of the Ministry of Health and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation , while UNICEF will act as coordinating Agency.
Option B plus – a HIV/AIDS management strategy, was launched last year during the 6th Annual National Paediatric Conference in Kampala.
In the B plus option, HIV positive mothers are introduced to three lifelong regimens from the 14 weeks of pregnancy, through labour, delivery and breastfeeding.
According to Charles Lyons, CEO Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation, Option B plus could reduce HIV infection among children.
Previously ARV’s were only administered after determining a patient’s CD4 count or going through clinical staging.
After initiating the implementation strategy, Assistant Commissioner Health Services National Disease Control Department Dr. Alex Opio said most health facilities in the country are already using Option A and B, but are yet to put in practice Option B plus, although it has already been introduced in the Health Sector.
Option B Plus is already ongoing in 25 Districts in Kampala and Central region, but soon it will scale to cover, particularly in areas that are adversely affected. Opio explained.
Dr. Richard Oketch HIV/Aids Specialist at UNICEF says 5 Districts in North East, 6 in East Central, 8 in South West will benefit from the roll out, which is set for this June.
The Option B plus treatment follows a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation on addressing Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.