Palliative Care and Support: Early Infant Diagnosis and Co-Trimoxazole

Project Description

Establishing an effective and sustainable national system for early infant diagnosis (EID) is a critical component of providing life-saving antiretroviral care to HIV-infected children. With its recent, intensive efforts to rapidly expand EID services, Zambia has become a model country for EID scale up and delivery in both sub-Saharan Africa and in other areas of the world where HIV rates are high.

In Zambia’s Southern Province, antiretroviral treatment services and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) activities have grown rapidly. But pediatric treatment is not yet widely available at the district level. It is essential to develop palliative care services to support children infected with HIV, as well as those who have been exposed to the virus.

The main goal of this project is to improve the postnatal follow-up care of infants exposed to HIV in Zambia’s Southern Province. Elements of this include ensuring that co-trimoxazole is available and prescribed to all children born to HIV-infected women; strengthening counseling for feeding infants and young children; and improving the systems for early diagnosis of HIV-exposed infants.

The project provides technical support to the government of Zambia in 8 out of 11 districts in Southern Province. This encompasses the creation and support of EID system development and implementation; scaling up existing EID activities; integrating EID health care delivery into maternal, newborn, and child health programs in the region; and making quality EID services available for HIV-exposed infants in as many facilities as possible.

Since the project began, it has overseen the administration of co-trimoxazole to almost 4,000 HIV-exposed infants by the age of two months, supported 143 facilities now capable of performing EID, trained and assisted community-based agents to implement a mother/baby follow-up register in the region, and referred over 250 HIV-positive infants for treatment.

This is a sub-project of the Boston University Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Integration Project.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Donald M. Thea
Boston University Co-Investigators Godfrey Biemba, Leoda Hamomba
Country(ies) Zambia
Dates of Activity 2006-2014