Protecting pregnant women: New pilot project to track HIV, syphilis in U.P.
The roll out and implementation of the first phase was launched on a pilot basis in six other states: Mizoram, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan and Karnataka
A pilot project aiming at screening all pregnant women was launched in the state along with six other states, on Thursday. The aim is to check transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to newborn.
“The pilot project in U.P. will run first in Prayagraj, where we have launched it,” said Heera Lal, additional project director, UP AIDS Control Society.
The roll out and implementation of the first phase of the elimination of vertical transmission of HIV and syphilis was launched on a pilot basis in six other states: Mizoram, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
In the pilot project, each pregnant woman in Prayagraj will be screened for HIV and syphilis. “This to ensure we can identify women testing positive at an early stage and ensure they are given treatment immediately. If the woman is positive, we can help save the child from getting infected,” said Dr Rohit Baghel, health systems officer, World Health Organisation.
“The learning and success rate of the pilot project will pave the way to implement the programme in other districts and the entire state,” said Heera Lal.
Explaining why the project was launched in Prayagraj, Dr Baghel said, “Prayagraj has a population of 60 lakh – the maximum in the state among districts – and here there are 90 identified pregnant women among whom only 21 are on medication from the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centre. Also, every year 2 lakh women get pregnant in Prayagraj. Hence, it was a high-risk district, chosen to run the pilot project.”
At present, 1,08,155 people living with HIV/AIDS are taking medicine from ART centres in the state.
“Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections globally. If a pregnant woman who is infected does not receive early treatment, she can transmit the infection to her unborn infant known as congenital syphilis,” said Dr Amita Shukla, senior gynaecologist, SC Trivedi Trust Hospital.