The Optimizing HIV Treatment Access (OHTA) Initiative, funded by Sweden and Norway through UNICEF, supports the scale-up of lifelong antiretroviral theapy (ART) for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV in four countries with a high HIV burden: Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi and Uganda. The project aims to strengthen health systems to deliver lifelong treatment (also known as ‘Option B+’) for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers living with HIV.
Changing from a time-bound to a chronic model for pregnant women, requires even more focus on improving the continuity of care over the long term so that women are supported to remain on treatment. The OHTA initiative seeks effective strategies to ensure that women who are pregnant and HIV positive initiate treatment in a timely manner and are retained in care over the long term. Community engagement is critical to support women living with HIV to adhere to their medication. The project also enhances monitoring and evaluation to improve the quality of HIV services.
In 2016, OHTA contributed to reaching over 34,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV on treatment.