15 October Oct 2012 1410 15 October 2012

“Born FREE from HIV: PMTCT Lessons Learned from Uganda” October 24th, Gulu, Uganda

AVSI presents “Born FREE from HIV: PMTCT Lessons Learned from Uganda” on October  24th, in Gulu, Uganda, to celebrate 10 years of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), 10 years of fight against AIDS in Uganda, 10 years of children born free from HIV, 10 years of healthy mothers, aware communities and an improved health-care system, increasingly able to deal with the epidemic.

PMTCTis a method to reduce the risk of infection of a child by an HIV positive mother. HIV is transmitted before, during and after childbirth. It can be prevented through education about sexual behavior and risk reduction, the provision of antiretroviral therapy and prophylaxis, obstetric interventions and changes in breastfeeding practices.
PMTCT does not only offer mothers the chance of having healthy babies, it also offers regular antenatal services. Through improving services for pregnant women, fathers and children, and community involvement, PMTCT programs can be successful.
Ten years ago in Uganda, AVSI added the strategy of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) in order to extend its continued efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic, enabling HIV-positive mothers to give birth to children free from HIV.
AVSI started supporting PMTCT activities in 2002, in two hospitals in Northern Uganda. In ten years, AVSI has supported 4 hospitals and 37 health centers, ante-Natal care and health services have been provided for more than 197.343 mothers. The whole health care system has improved.
A report, a short film and a documentary will be presented in Gulu on October 24th to show faces and stories of the protagonists. Among the speakers, Dr. Lawrence Ojom, Superintendent of St. Joseph Hospital-KitgumKetty Opoka, Director of Meeting Point-KitgumDr. Esiru Godfrey, National PMTCT Coordinator, Dr. Aceng, Director General Health Services and John Makoha, AVSI Country Representative who will welcome and introduce the event. AVSI will be represented by dr. Luciana Bassani, who worked for AVSI in Uganda for many years and together with her husband, dr. Filippo Ciantia, gave an important contribution to start up PMTCT programs.
Among the participants: District officials (Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Agago, Lamwo, Nwoya, Amuru), partner representatives such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Save the Children and AVSI staff.
October  25th will be also the date of  the official opening of AVSI Gulu’s Office, that will took place at the presence of the Italian and EU Ambassadors and the Archibishop of Gulu.