Through ABC, the Rotary Club of Middlesbrough made contact with the Rotary Club of Kololo Uganda and a collaborative project was initiated.
The host Rotary Club identified skilled health care providers who had appropriate medical expertise in this field. In parallel they identified a rural community Kayunga with limited access to health care or advice and where infant HIV was prevalent. One of the critical success factors of the project was to engage the elders, the village health teams and local birth attendants firstly to win their trust and educate them in Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). The village health teams and local midwives were trained and equipped to work with HIV positive pregnant women, support & carefully monitor their drug treatment, deliver the ‘at risk’ babies safely and supervise infant and maternal health in the months after birth.
Rotary supported this initiative through sound project management, communication & publicity, engaging and connecting key influencers. Rotarians also provided funding to cover the provision of simple transportation (bicycles and motor bikes) which enabled rural health workers to reach a greater population.
To date ABC has led three major Elimination of mother to child transmission (EMTCT) projects in Uganda (2009, 2012, and 2013) two with RC Kayunga and one with RC Kololo. These three projects have been funded by matched RI Global Grants.
From a total Rotary funding of $138k an amazing 127,000 rural inhabitants (both men and women) have received health education on HIV prevention and in particular prevention of mother to child HIV transmission; 62,000 pregnant women have been tested for HIV and above all, 2,733 babies have been born AIDs free from 3,000 HIV pregnant women – a success rate of 93%!
Whilst no one can put a value on being born AIDs free – the cost of supporting this type of collaborative project is outstandingly efficient. For less than $50 a child’s life has been saved. For less than $1 per head 127,000 individuals have received medical education and testing which might save many more lives in the future.