Questions and Answers on Infant Feeding and HIV
According to UNICEF without preventive interventions, approximately one-third of infants born to HIV-positive mothers contract HIV through mother-to-child transmission, becoming infected during their mothers' pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. In 2001, 800,000 children under the age of 15 contracted HIV, over 90 per cent of them through mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT). Between 15 and 25% of children born to HIV-infected mothers get infected with HIV during pregnancy or delivery, while about 15% of the children get infected through breastfeeding.
The aim of the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS campaign launched by the Yezingane Network (housed at Children’s Rights Centre) in August 2013 was to raise awareness of PMTCT Services available to pregnant and lactating mothers as well as to promote healthy behaviours including adherence to treatment, safe breastfeeding and early and regular antenatal clinic visits. Materials were developed, printed and distributed to mothers across South Africa with the aim of educating and highlighting the significance of exclusive breast feeding.
We have seen much interest around the PMTCT campaign, and continue to strive for an aware generation of mothers knowing that HIV transmission from mother to child is preventable and has potential to greatly influence our future generation.
Thus far we have taken the initiative of translating the available PMTCT Guidelines into 2 indigenous languages namely IsiZulu and Sotho. The aim of translating the materials into local languages was for local people within the communities to be able to easily understand them and also create an awareness about the importance of PMTCT and exclusive breast-feeding. These publications are being distributed to different organisations, especially within the rural areas.
Besides the PMTCT guidelines, there is also the Infant Feeding FAQ Booklet with questions and answers for breastfeeding mothers both HIV infected and HIV negative. This booklet was produced in 2010, and has been updated. It was developed in order to inform, educate and advise mothers and health care workers about the importance of exclusive breast feeding, which simply means giving the baby no other food or drink – not even water- except breast milk. This booklet was found to be very useful by health workers and paediatricians to such an extent that the Yezingane Network saw the need to update the booklet and also translate it into the 2 local languages.
The Infant Feeding FAQ booklet is being distributed with a breastfeeding cartoon video developed for lactating mothers which was launched in the week of 1-7 August 2014 (World Breastfeeding Week.)
These valuable resources used as a platform on our social media network sites to create awareness and encourage healthy behaviours and highlight the importance of exclusive breast feeding and its benefits.
Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Booklet