In order to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV virus the Bengal government is developing a key strategy and laid a stress on the screening of the pregnant women.
The state Health department has already asked the principals of medical colleges in the city and Chief Medical Officers of Health in the districts to conduct screening of the pregnant mothers at the district level hospitals.
It has also asked the officials in the district to extend all help to the representatives of the PLAN India, officially designated by the Global Plan to implement Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) in various states.
According to the senior Health officials in the state, the screening should be done when these women visit hospitals in the early stages of their pregnancy.
If a woman was found carrying HIV virus in the early stage, the doctors could prevent the virus from transmission.
PLAN India would be providing support and technical guidance to their sub-recipient partner, Child in Need Institute (CINI) whose outreach workers would be working in the community with two objectives like building skills of peripheral health workers ANM and ASHA in PPTC and to conduct outreach and follow up of HIV positive women and HIV exposed infants.
Presently, PLAN India with its field partner CINI has been working in various district of the state including Kolkata, Birbhum, Bankura, West Midnapore, Cooch Behar, Malda, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas.
The Union Health Ministry in its directives has asked the states to conduct the screening of women in the early stage of their pregnancy to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to the newborns.
According to the central government guidelines, the universal screening is a mandate for the early detection of HIV in pregnant women. The Union ministry had earlier asked various states to conduct screening on pregnant women in early stage through the programme, Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT), which was launched in 2002.
The Centre has observed that in various states, particularly in remote areas, the programme was conducted in the right time. If there was a delay in screening of the pregnant women, the risk of such virus being transmitted to the children is higher.