A new study published published in the Lancet estimates that a quarter of all deaths among pregnant and postpartum women in sub-Saharan Africa are due to HIV. A new public-private partnership between the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID, the CDC„ Peace Corps, and Department of Defense; the governments of Norway, Uganda and Zambia, Merck for Mothers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Every Mother Counts and Project CURE has sought to cut maternal deaths in Uganda and Zambia. In one year , this partnership has helped to cut maternal deaths due to childbirth in areas of these two countries by 30-35%.
The initiative, Saving Mothers, Giving Life (no connection to Saving Mothers) was launched in June 2012 in eight districts in Uganda and Zambia. The focus of the partnership is a commitment to increase the number of pregnant women receiving HIV services, reduce maternal mortality and improve health systems that impact maternal health and build on the platform for care that PEPFAR’s decade of investments have helped to strengthen significantly.
According to a an article published in the Huffington Post, the program has resulted in:
• A 62 percent increase in facility-based deliveries in Uganda and 33 percent increase in Zambia. Facility-based deliveries make it far easier to provide antiretroviral medication to mothers living with HIV — both for their own health and prevention of mother-to-children transmission (PMTCT) — as well as education regarding exclusive breastfeeding.
• A 28 percent increase (Uganda) and an 18 percent increase (Zambia) in the number of mothers living with HIV that received antiretroviral medication for PMTCT and to protect their own health.
• A 27 percent increase (Uganda) and 29 percent increase (Zambia) in the number of infants receiving both antiretroviral medication for PMTCT and cotrimoxazole for prevention of infectious complications such as pneumonia.
Exciting results so far. If you’d like to read more, check out the program website at Saving Mother Giving Life.