USAID Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Project

IntraHealth was the lead partner in USAID’s three-year prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV project (2004–2007, aka the Hareg Project) , which supported the Ethiopian government’s efforts to prevent and minimize the risk of pediatric HIV infections. IntraHealth collaborated with the Ministry of Health to develop Ethiopia’s capacity for PMTCT services while strengthening existing maternal and child health care.

Targeting antenatal care as an entry point for women to receive services, the project strove to connect HIV-positive women and their infants to a continuum of services to improve their health and avert infections. Parallel community advocacy and sensitization activities raised awareness of PMTCT services (and HIV prevention in general) and fostered greater collaboration between health care providers and their communities.

The PMTCT process includes:

  • Antenatal care counseling and testing for HIV
  • For HIV-positive women, follow-up and antiretroviral therapy
  • For infants, antiretroviral therapy within 72 hours of birth.

Comprehensive PMTCT services supported by the project's strategies and approaches included:

  • Changing policies to improve access to PMTCT services
  • Mobilizing communities, increasing referrals and fighting stigmatization of people living with HIV
  • Training providers and managers and offering supportive supervision
  • Strengthening systems and ensuring that health facilities have medical supplies
  • Supporting HIV-positive mothers through a Mothers' Support Group program.

IntraHealth supported the PMTCT project in 248 public health centers, with more than 1,500 health providers trained in PMTCT service provision. Since October 2004, the project provided more than 100,000 mothers with HIV counseling and over 50,000 with HIV testing.

The project was funded by USAID through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Partners include Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, district health offices and community-based teams, and Management Sciences for Health’s Rational Pharmaceutical Management Plus (RPM+) program.