Anti-retroviral Pouch for PMTCT During Home Birth

Duke University
Organization Location: 
Durham, NC USA

The transmission of HIV from mother to child during the birthing process can be largely prevented by the administration of anti­retroviral drugs. But, the child must receive the medication within 24 hours after birth to be effective. In Sub-Saharan Africa many clinics have the drug but most mothers deliver at home without it. Conventional containers, such as syringes, cups and pill bottles destroy the active ingredient in the medication. This means that the only way for most African children to receive medication is for the mother to travel to a clinic immediately after birth. An HIV+ mother will often be reluctant to travel to a clinic the day or two after delivering her baby. She may feel too weak to travel to a clinic miles away or fear stigmatization after explaining why she must go to a clinic after delivering a healthy baby. This leaves millions of children at risk of becoming HIV+ during the birthing process. We have developed and tested in the laboratory a foilized, polyethylene pouch - something like a fast-food ketchup pouch - that can store the medication for months. If the mother is unable to make it to the hospital to deliver, she can tear open the pouch and provide the drugs to the infant, preventing her newborn from becoming HIV+. In 200, HIV+ mothers, we will show that the pouch increases the proportion of children born at home receiving ARV’s in the first 24 hours from 0% to 90%.

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