KZN ups fight against mother to child HIV transmission

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal is adding two more clinics to its artillery in the fight against mother to child transmission of HIV.

The prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) clinics will be officially opened on Thursday in Dundee Hospital and Wasbank in the Umzinyathi District by Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

The clinics will give women a facility where they can get themselves tested early in their pregnancy for HIV.

Dhlomo has been vocal about the importance of communities, including amaKhosi and faith-based organisations, in the fight against HIV. He has also encouraged husbands to play a role during their partner's pregnancy.

He said opening of the clinics was one more step in ensuring no child is born with HIV.

"To prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to baby, the department promotes a comprehensive approach, which includes four components: primary prevention of HIV among all women of child bearing age; preventing unwanted or unplanned pregnancies among women living with HIV; promoting early booking of all pregnant women and providing appropriate treatment, care and support to mothers living with HIV and their children and families," said Dhlomo.

Meanwhile, following a call for the return of reproductive and sex education in schools, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi will officially open two clinics in Mhlabuyalingana to promote the provision of family planning services to young girls.

During his address on Tuesday at the National Nurses Summit in Sandton, Motsoaledi, emphasized the need for nurses and the department to work together to raise awareness about family planning among young women.

"We [need] more nurses in schools educating young girls about family planning. If you wait for them to come to clinics and hospitals, they will overwhelm you," Motsoaledi said at the summit.

During the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma announced that government will broaden the scope of reproductive health rights and provide services related to, amongst others, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancy and sanitary towels for the indigent.

Motsoaledi will be accompanied by Dhlomo at the opening of the clinics in Mhlabuyalingana. - BuaNews