EGPAF wins award to scale up innovative PMTCT medications in Uganda
Washington, D.C.–March 24, 2016– The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) has been selected to receive the prestigious Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development Award for its model to nationally scale up use of the innovative "Pratt Pouch" to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Uganda. The Pratt Pouch, a polyethylene pouch, similar to a ketchup pouch, offers a unique way for mothers to easily provide pre-measured, single doses of the HIV prophylaxis Nevirapine (NVP) to their babies. EGPAF's model will introduce the easy-to-use pouches during antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care services in Uganda with the goal of reaching 40,000 infants in three years.
The Pratt Pouch has been evaluated in laboratory and low-resource facility settings with positive results. EGPAF's new project will integrate Pratt Pouch technology into the existing supply chain and service delivery platforms to design a sustainable, evidence-based model for national scale-up in Uganda and other low-resource countries.
"EGPAF's model is the first and only model that will allow the Pratt Pouch to be used on a national scale. It could be a game-changer for the way we deliver HIV prophylaxis to infants, not just in Uganda, but worldwide," said Dr. Edward Bitarakwate, country director for EGPAF-Uganda. "Mothers will now be empowered to easily and effectively give their babies the medicine they need to remain HIV-free."
Every year, 120,000 infants in Uganda are exposed to HIV, and nearly 16,000 become infected during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Antiretroviral prophylaxis given from birth to six weeks of age can significantly reduce the risk of transmission, yet 68 percent of HIV-exposed infants in Uganda do not receive this critical medication.
By incorporating the Pratt Pouch during antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care, EGPAF's model provides women living with HIV with several opportunities to access the pouches. This is especially important as many pregnant women in Uganda do not attend all recommended antenatal visits and may be lost to follow-up after delivery. Therefore, EGPAF will distribute the Pratt Pouches during the women's first ANC visit, which should be several months before birth. By providing women with an easy, simple way to give the correct dose of medication to their infants, the model increases the likelihood that their babies will remain HIV-free in the crucial first weeks of life, even if mothers miss further clinic visits. Pouches will also be available during delivery and postnatal care for mothers who did not receive them during antenatal care.
EGPAF will partner with the Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) and Pratt Pouch Consulting to develop the scale-up model. EGPAF will also partner with the official Pratt Pouch distributer, Maternova, a social enterprise which distributes novel technologies to improve clinical interventions for women and newborns worldwide, to distribute the pouches.
EGPAF is among 19 other awardees who were selected from more than 750 submissions in Saving Lives at Birth's fifth call for innovations. EGPAF is now part of a growing community of more than 90 innovators supported by the Saving Lives at Birth partnership to prevent maternal and infant deaths in the hardest to reach regions of the world. The Saving Lives at Birth partnership, launched in 2011, includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), the U.K's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). It is a global call for groundbreaking, scalable solutions to infant and maternal mortality around the time of birth.
About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF):
EGPAF is the global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/ AIDS and has reached nearly 23 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. It currently supports more than 6,000 health facilities and works in 14 countries to implement prevention, care, and treatment services; to further advance innovative research; and to execute global advocacy activities that bring dramatic change to the lives of millions of women, children, and families worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.pedaids.org.