This blog was provided by Global Health Innovations.
The notion of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure is nothing new, but it’s a concept that takes on particular significance in the battle against HIV – where an ounce of prevention is priceless because, for the time being, there is no cure.
It is with this in mind that we, at GHI, find ourselves on the threshold of a new chapter in the HITSystem, one in which we find ourselves embracing the notion of prevention, not just diagnosis and treatment, as our source of even greater hope.
As research and science have proven over the past few years, there is an effective path to preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child, a cascade of care known as “Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, or PMTCT, and we are proud to be here in Africa for the next two weeks preparing to launch the latest incarnation of the HITSystem, one that helps us support mothers, clinicians, nurses, laboratory professionals and others who work together daily to stop this disease.
When the HITSystem took shape a few short years ago, the greatest hope in the battle against pediatric HIV was to test infants and initiate the positives on medication as early as possible. Now we know that, if we can identify the expectant mothers and get them on medication, there’s a very good chance we won’t have to do the same for their children – greater than a 90% chance. With this new paradigm, we aren’t just looking to identify and treat those who are HIV-positive; we’re doing everything in our power to prevent them from being infected in the first place.
This doesn’t mean that we’re taking a step back from our previous focus on testing children and treating those who need it – far from it. Where before we started our fight by asking which infants were already positive, now we are beginning our care from the moment we know a child is on the way and giving them a fighting chance of avoiding infection altogether.
The only difference is that now, thanks to the collective effort of the GHI team and the support of many of you, we’re able to fight the battle on two fronts – we will be using the latest additions to the HITSystem to track and improve the care of expectant HIV-positive mothers, and we’ll then use the old, tried-and-true model to deliver the same outstanding care once these mothers bring their babies into the world.
We like to think that, thanks to so many of you, the newest version of the HITSystem will be like having a pound of prevention and skipping the need for a cure altogether.
This series of blog posts is intended to shine a spotlight on the 2015 Business Action on Health finalists’ programs. Each of the highlighted initiatives provides a powerful example of effective organizational responses, innovative solutions and multi-sectoral approaches to today’s most pressing health priorities.