Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) has become a crucial intervention in the global fight against the epidemic. In Tanzania about 1.4 million women become pregnant each year. Data from sentinel surveillance sites in Tanzania (2005) indicate that the overall HIV prevalence among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics is 8.2%. When effectively and appropriately implemented, PMTCT services have the potential to prevent infection in babies who would otherwise be born HIV-positive or contract the infection during delivery and breast feeding. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV core interventions include:
- Information and counseling on preventing HIV transmission (Primary prevention).
- Access to family planning services for women living with HIV and AIDS and their partners. (Prevent unintended pregnancies).
- Use of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child.
- Access to HIV treatment, care and support for infected mothers, infants and other family members.
PMTCT Situation Analysis For the year 2007:
- A total of 1347 health facilities were providing PMTCT services.
- A total of 778,619( 55.6%) new ANC attendees received PMTCT services.
- About 91.6%% (713,506 of 778,619) of these new ANC attendees were tested for HIV.
- Of those tested, 9.9% (70,710 of 713,506) were found to be HIV positive, which is slightly higher than 8.2% HIV prevalence from the 2005 ANC sentinel surveillance results.
- About 60% (42,595 of 70,710) of those found to be HIV positive through the programme received niverapine prophylaxis (at ANC and L&D),
- HIV exposed babies who received nevirapine syrup prophylaxis were 30% (21,358/ 70,710)
- Despite this progress in specific programmatic terms, at the end of 2007, only 34% (42,595/ 123,738) of HIV positive pregnant women in the country received antiretroviral prophylaxis to reduce MTCT.
- Only 28% health facilities (1347 out of a total of 4871 RCH clinics) are also providing PMTCT services.
- Women continue to confront a number of gender-based obstacles in accessing PMTCT services such as, using ARV prophylaxis or engaging in alternative infant feeding practices.
- Male involvement is still limited.