Integrated Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS. National Protocol Guidelines - Zambia
(2007; 60 pages)


Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) is by far the largest source of HIV infection in children below the age of 15 years. According to UNAIDS estimates, more than 90 percent of children who acquire the virus through Mother-to-Child Transmission, do so before birth, during birth, or through breastfeeding.

Zambia, one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has very high HIV prevalence among pregnant women. Data from the 2001/2 Sentinel Surveillance System show that one in every three pregnant women, is HIV infected in the worst most areas. In the absence of any intervention, Motherto- Child HIV transmission reverses efforts made to improve child survival.

Therefore, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has an obligation, and is committed to providing the country with equitable access to cost effective and quality health care, as close to the family as possible. It is against this background that the Ministry of Health is working to increase access to the prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV services (PMTCT), for all pregnant women and their families.

This can only be achieved through the expansion and integration of PMTCT services into Maternal and Child Health (MCH). The PMTCT intervention entails among other approaches, the establishment of linkages to other support programmes within the framework of a continuum of care for HIV positive people.

PMTCT interventions are therefore introduced alongside the improvement of overall MCH services which will ensure a reduction in maternal and childhood morbidity and mortality.

PMTCT has been identified as an entry point for care and support services to HIV infected families. Thus, the expansion of the services will play a paramount role in contributing to the achievement of the 3 by 5 World Health Organization (W.H.O) treatment Initiative in the country.

This document has been mainly written for use by health care providers. It gives guidelines on how to implement integrated PMTCT services at health facilities. The document is the first of its kind and will be updated as PMTCT management evolves with changing times, and as need dictates.

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