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Mother-to-child transmission is the transmission of HIV from a woman living with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding (through breast milk). Mother to child transmission of HIV can be effectively prevented with medicines and other intervention.

The implementation of prevention of mother to child transmission program was initiated in 2002 in private and not-for-profit health sector in Maharashtra. This was first such initiative from India in private health care sector. In 2012, it became a part of the National Health Programme through a Public Private Partnership.

Through this program, pregnant women visiting private health facilities were given support for undertaking HIV tests, comprehensive antenatal counselling and accessing appropriate HIV & obstetric care. Pregnant women detected to have HIV and their families were provided counselling support throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period. The women were supported for HIV testing of the infant and linkage to HIV care.

The programs collaborated and worked closely with many private health care providers (hospitals, clinics, laboratories), NGOs, and CBOs. The focus was on sensitization against stigma and discrimination, training and handholding with private sector health care providers for service provision to pregnant women living with HIV. A large number of training and awareness sessions were held with doctors, nurses, counselors, paramedics and outreach health workers. Development of educational material, using different forms and format was another unique feature of this program. The resources developed included educational films for doctors and nurses on universal precautions and care to be taken during provision of obstetric care (both the films are being used the national HIV program), posters giving information of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (these have been adopted in the national HIV program), booklets on antenatal care for pregnant women (these are available in Marathi, Hindi, English, and Kannad languages and are widely used across different organizations).

The program continued for nearly two decades. It contributed majorly in improving access of women living with HIV to antenatal and obstetric services.

Implementation area – Western Maharashtra (Pune, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Solapur, Ahemdnagar)

Program achievements

No. of private health facilities: 2000

No. of public health facilities: 690

Pregnant women counselled: 1364928

Pregnant women living with HIV provided with care and support services: 3225

Start date – September 2002

End date - October 2019

Funding support – Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (2002- October 2013), MAC AIDS Foundation (November 2013 – September 2015), Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) (October 2015 - October 2019)