translation agency

CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Cape Will Give Pregnant Women AZT
Viall, Jenny; Maneli, Joyful Mlamli
January 6, 1999
Africa News Service (01/05/99)

The Western Cape of South Africa will continue a pilot program providing AZT to HIV-infected pregnant women despite Health Minister Nkosazana Zuma's decision not to continue the program nationwide. Fareed Abdullah, the chief director of health care in the Western Cape, said that "this is not in contradiction to national policy," and that the department decided to continue the program because the national Health Department had agreed to AZT trials. Abdullah added that the program was specific to the region, noting that the cost for hospital beds for HIV-infected children was higher in the Western Cape than in other provinces. The cost of treating HIV -infected women with AZT in the Western Cape was lower than treating infected babies. Furthermore, the infant mortality rate is elevated in the region and could increase up to 30 percent without the AZT program. The project--which includes HIV testing, counseling, AZT treatment, milk formula for six months, and follow-up testing for infants--is expected to run at least 12 months, treating about 5,000 women.