Ms. Petronella Mutale Zimba
(PMTCT program in charge at st francis mission hospital, Katete Zambia).

Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission

Contributing towards “Saving lives of unborn babies”.

St Francis mission hospital, through the “Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission” (PMTCT) Program, has given hope to HIV positive mothers that their children will be born free from HIV infection. The PMTCT program was under Global Fund support for a decade at the hospital. However, the program was inactive because st francis is a 2nd level hospital with no catchment area and only mothers referred from 1st level hospitals or clinics were enrolled. Since most enrolled mothers were lost out after discharge, the program performance was poor, as St Francis had no mandate to follow them up.
However, from September 2013, when Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) took over from CRS/AIDSRelief, PMTCT became part of the PEPFAR/CDC funded program. CHAZ requested st francis to adopt her own outreach sites where to conduct the PMTCT program.
We negotiated with the Katete District health office who gave us 2 outreach sites: Kafumbwe (35 Km towards Mozambique border) and Chimtende (about 50 km to the west) last year.

Ms. Zimba, who is a midwife, states, “since we started work at the 2 outreach sites, much progress has been made and it has been easy for CHAZ and CDC to asses our program performance. It is also easy for us to generate reports to donors and well wishers to account for what we do with their money. The figures below indicate that in 2014 alone, we attended to 2, 640 clients at the two sites. In addition, we provided PMTCT services to 103 pregnant mothers and 60 exposed infants. From the 94 pregnant positive mothers, only 4 babies were found HIV positive, while 90 were negative at birth” .

PMTCT program performance in 2014 (Source: PMTCT registers: Chimtende and Kafumbwe clinics).

She further states: “The achievements are due to the regular visits that we (midwives) make twice weekly and the employment of volunteer community PMTCT adherence counselors in each site, supervised by us and clinic staff. The PMTCT counselors follow up pregnant mothers in communities 3 days weekly.  We are happy that CHAZ has agreed to train Traditional Birth Attendants ( women that deliver pregnant mothers in communities), so that they can assist adherence counselors to follow up pregnant mothers to eliminate mother to child infection and contribute towards creating a generation of children free from HIV. I invite well wishers to contribute more financial support to the program because PEPFAR/CDC funding alone is not able to get every needy mother enrolled onto the program”.