Home | Contact Us | Sitemap
Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Register   |  Login


Reality Bites

HIV infected Newborns – Mother-Child transmission. We got it all wrong: AIDS organization

After eight years and thousands of newborns getting the HIV infection from their mothers, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has realised that it has not been following the best option to stop mother-child transmissions. In 2009, around 18,000 newborns in the country got the infection from their mothers either because they were not given the drug at the right time or the one given was not good enough.

Many critics from the medical world felt the regimen to prevent motherchild transmission in India is out-and-out “faulty” and “ineffective”. A pregnant woman is administered a dose of Nevirapine as soon as she experiences labour pain. The newborn too is given a dose of the medication to prevent the infection. However, the near failure of the regimen can be gauged by the fact that less than 10% of 189,000 HIV-positive mothers in the country got the drug.

An HIV expert said the regimen has resulted in many innocent children getting infected. “The regimen was denounced in many developed countries,” the expert added. “NACO never took into consideration that most women deliver their first child at their maternal place, where people are unaware of her HIV status. Thereby, she does not have access to the drug,” the expert said.

Many government agencies have started admitting that administering Nevirapine had logistical issues. “HIV-positive mothers are invariably shunted out of private nursing homes at the time of delivery. So, when they reach a public hospital, the priority for doctors is to perform the delivery,” said Dr S S Kudalkar, project director of the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS). “There is no denying that till a few years back, only 20% of HIV-positive mothers actually got the drug,” he said, adding that the percentage has now increased to 92%. But this World AIDS Day, NACO declared that corrective measures have been taken.

“The new regimen would mean that a HIV infected pregnant woman will be on anti-retroviral drugs from 14 weeks of pregnancy. Another two drugs will be administered during delivery,” said Dr B B Rewari, national programme officer, ART of NACO. The drugs will continue post-delivery. “For newborns too, the drug will continue for least a year after birth, or till they are exposed to infection through breast-feeding,” he added.

A bigger challenge remains the inherent logistical hiccups. “It will be a huge step as following up with patients for that long and ensuing adherence to drugs is tough,” said Dr Mamta Manglani, head of pediatric department, Sion Hospital. “The new regimen can hopefully bring down transmission from 35-40% to 2-5%,” she added.

There seems a significant shift in urban health trend in Mumbai  

Daily wage labourer Deepak Sutar,35,who works in a plastic moulding factory and earns Rs155 a day,has one thing in common with his employer.

They both have diabetes. Sutar’s is one of them any cases of individuals from the lower economic strata of society having lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Civic dispensaries are witnessing a surge in diabetes and hypertension patients coming from slums.

According to statistics available with the health department, cases of hypertension and diabetes have risen by at least 30 per cent at slums in Kurla and Govandi.

“Earlier these diseases were restricted to the upper-middle class population, but now even the slum dwellers are contracting these ailments,” said a senior civic official.

Addressing MNH & other MDGs can’t be met without access to energy....

The 10th anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals evoked calls for more funds, aid, health care, sanitation and so on. But the international energy agency (IEA) has a different take to address the issues such as poverty, hunger, child health, maternal health. IEA has identified a common factor : energy. Addressing cleanliness & sanitation, hunger & malnourishment, health care of mothers & children can’t be met without access to energy ; IEA’s chief economist argues. The gap between developed & developing countries is a gap of energy. 1.4 billion people still need electricity & 2.7 billion rely on polluting biomass to cook. Funding energy is more complex than funding food or healthcare. IEA analysis demonstrates how energy technologies can make a difference & that a more sustainable energy; development is within our reach. (Source: Energy Technology Perspectives 2010)