WE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS AROUND THE WORLD
Denise Augustínová, operational director of Magna Children at Risk with a patient in the Magna HIV clinic in Cambodia. Copyright by Martin Bandžák
There are 33.4 million people infected with HIV in the world. 2.1 million present children. More than 90% of infected people live in developing countries and almost 70% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 15 million people need to get antiviral treatment (ARV), however, only a third of them get it. Less than half of HIV positive mothers have access to PMTCT program (Preventing mother-to-child transmission), although the largest number of cases of infection of children is the transmission from mother to child.
Magna Children at Risk provides primarily 2 types of assistance: PMTCT program and the Antiviral treatment (ARV) for child patients since 2003.
Preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) plays an important role in Magna’s activities. In 2009, Magna provided PMTCT programs in hospitals and health care centers for 815 women. Magna’s work focuses on integration of prenatal routine (ANC) and natal care, care for mothers and their children, as well as postnatal care consisting of social care and regular doctor examinations. 979 children were monitored in the „HIV exposed children“ programs in 2009. Exposed children are the ones born to HIV positive mothers.
Magna doctor during the check up of a HIV positive patient in the HIV clinic in Cambodia, where Magna provides HIV / AIDS treatment for children since 2003. Copyright by Martin Bandžák
Magna first implemented PMTCT in Cambodia in 2006. Currently it belongs to our priority activities in Cambodia, where the project operate in 4 hospitals and is the largest of its kind in the country. Today, Magna also operates the project are Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Vietnam and Nicaragua.
In developing countries women have a very limited access to prenatal care and related medical and social services. We believe all women should have the opportunity to be informed of their HIV status so they can be treated or prevented from transferring HIV virus on their newborn child. In 2009 Magna assisted with 60.763 prenatal examinations, when 12.548 pregnant women were tested on their HIV status.
PMTCT program is a complex program focused on minimalization of mother-to-child HIV transmission, including the aim of preventing HIV transmission among women. The program offers reproductive health care for women who live with HIV virus, prevents virus transmission during pregnancy and birth onto the child and minimizes the transmission via secure substitute feeding (in replacement of breastfeeding) or via exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of the child’s age. The program also provides other health care related services for women, newborn children and the members of the immediate or more extended family. Monitoring the correct application of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and its regularity by pregnant mothers and their children substantially reduces the risk of HIV mother-to-child transmission.
Decrease in pediatric HIV infections in developing countries is mainly due to prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). However, it is very difficult to effectively implement PMTCT programs in the environment with no data and information on the problem and where women have limited access to prenatal care (which is crucial in preventing mother-to-child transmission).
Immunisation of babies born to HIV positive mothers in the PMTCT program (preventing mother-to-child transmission), which Magna operates on three continents. Kombewa Hospital, Kenya. Copyrigt by Martin Bandžák
A great number of HIV positive children are infected from their mothers during pregnancy, birth giving or later during the time of breastfeeding. In certain developing countries the HIV infection in a group of pediatric patients has been eliminated or better-to-say put to its minimum levels directly via programs aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission. The HIV prevalence in developing countries is presently less than 2%. On the other hand, in these countries only 20% of women have the availability of timely intervention to prevent HIV transmission.
Within its PMTCT programs Magna Children at Risk offers women an option between applying substitute breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding combined with comprehensive nutritional counseling for both mother and her newborn child. In 2009, Magna distributed 21.204 instant formula milks. Presently there is a discussion on the topic of breastfeeding and right alternatives for substitute nursing food. Opening new PMTCT programs consisting of necessary medical interventions and their correct application on a larger scale will require great knowledge and understanding in the field of ARV medicines as well as adaptive fixed dose combinations (FDCs) that are not heavily demanding on administration procedures, have acceptable measure of toxicity and the minimal risk of possible resistance.
AIDS is still an incurable disease. However, there is an antiviral treatment (ARV) for HIV positive patients that increases their immunity and gives them longer and higher-quality life. Today it is the only way how to help the HIV/AIDS patients.
Children and families infected with HIV are often stigmatized and they have to fight prejudices every day, therefore it is important to work directly with the community to help to solve this problem. They also need information and practical help with the treatment, child care or assistance when they become jobless.
Magna Children at Risk provides ARV treatment and opportunistic infections treatment (TBC etc.) for child patients since 2003. We provide medicaments, medical examinations, lab tests, food, nutrition and therapeutic consultancy. We also help to train the health care personnel. In 2009 there were 680 HIV-positive children registered in this program.
Magna Children at Risk fights for better access to high-quality generic ARV medicaments for developing countries; Magna exerts pressure on official authorities to improve the conditions in health care facilities and to improve the quality of personnel, health care equipment and medicaments.
Magna Children at risk works directly in field and our social workers provider HIV/AIDS prevention in local communities. They help to prevent from the epidemics by regular visits and hygiene habits checks and they also provide information on possibilities of infection.
You can also help and save lives with Magna Children at Risk. It costs only € 30 per month to provide a monthly treatment for HIV positive child. Join us and contribute!
On behalf of people living with HIV and on behalf of our patients, we want to thank you for your solidarity.