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PMCT Coordination Workshop in Yangon: achievements, challenges and ways forward

5-6 March 2015, Summit Park View Hotel- Zero new HIV infections. Zero AIDS-related deaths. Zero discrimination. Those are the ambitious goals to which Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) contributes. Beginning on March 5th, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the National AIDS Program (NAP) and UNICEF held a two day workshop to facilitate state and regional level coordination in the Yangon region among HIV prevention programmes related to maternal and child health to continue to work towards these three vital zeros.

In 2014 ante-natal care covered 111,709 women in 34 townships including 7 tertiary hospitals. 76,072 women tested for HIV and 1,186 HIV-positive women received ante-natal care. In order to measure progress, streamlining data entry is of vital importance as is improving the data entry procedures. Dr. Daw Aye Aye, the township medical officer in Yankin Township, observed: "The findings point to the fact that we need to put a dedicated person to enter, update and maintain the data. Otherwise, the data will not be reliable. We also learned about the need to perform more tracing so we can prevent patients from dropping out of treatment programmes." Other challenges include the limited funding to support the cost for referral and for follow up, the time to provide counseling to pregnant women during ante-natal visits and the lack of privacy for counseling.

Around 70 health care personnel from different sectors participated in the workshop - senior consultants, Township medical officers, STI team leaders, Township Health Nurses, network personnel and (ICAP) non-governmental organizations. Participants were glad to have the opportunity to participate in the workshop. Daw Thidar Lwin, a township health network professional in Khayan Township, said, "Here, we learned many things. The knowledge sharing sessions were very beneficial. Since we are dealing with the community, we must have the opportunity to know about the latest developments in anti-retroviral treatment."\