Guest blog:Parent to child transmission?

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Smita Baruah wrote this guest blog. She is director of government relations for the Global Health Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Smita Baruah wrote this guest blog. She is director of government relations for the Global Health Council, based in Washington, D.C.

This guest blog was written by Smita Baruah. She is the director of government relations for the Global Health Council, the world’s largest membership alliance dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the globe.

In this morning’s plenary session on prevention, we learned again about the importance of involving men in all prevention programs, including prevention of mother to child transmission. At conferences such as this one, sessions on PMTCT usually top the list. Most of these sessions generally center around examples of the progress towards reaching the 80% target.

This includes discussions around how to reach pregnant women, ensure that PMTCT programs are integrated with antenatal care services or primary health care and of late, and the importance of integrating family planning services with PMTCT programs. I, at least, had not really paid attention to the critical role men can play in PMTCT programs. This morning, I started paying attention.

It was said this morning that when a baby tests negative for HIV, men often believe they are also HIV negative. It is already often difficult to get men tested, and makes it even harder when they learn that their baby is not HIV positive. Thus we learned about the importance of using PMTCT programs to educate and counsel men.

I have heard a lot about the need for integration of family planning into PMTCT programs or linking PMTCT programs with safe motherhood. How about also including male circumcision? Never thought of that until it was mentioned.

I learned in a PMTCT session following the plenary that male participation is still weak in many PMTCT programs. Unfortunately, the session did not have an in-depth discussion about how best to increase male participation in these programs. But in a post-session discussion with a colleague, he suggested that maybe they need to call them “parent to child transmission” to increase men’s involvement. Just a thought for next year’s sessions on PMTCT.

4 thoughts on “Guest blog:Parent to child transmission?

  1. Pingback: Blog 4 Global Health

  2. Hiliary Critchley

    Thank you, Smita, for summarizing the salient points for those of us who could not attend, and for keeping such a vigilant and watchful eye on the many complex and inter-related developments in such an important topic area. Cheers, Hiliary

  3. Robert Kayemba M

    Thank you Smita. I have just started to formulate a plan on how men can be accessed in our LPTFS. I work with Aidsrelief.
    The challenge is still big and i think in the next meeting, one of the key issues for discussion on the list should be “strategies to increase male involvement in reproductive health”. I have found most of the information from the meeting usefull

    Thank you


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