MASVINGO — Government is planning to introduce a new policy to allow nurses to prescribe anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to HIV-positive pregnant women to cut the red tape and reduce the country’s maternal
Report by Own Correspondent
Addressing a media workshop on the elimination of pediatric HIV in Masvingo on Wednesday, Dr Angela Mushavi, the national co-ordinator for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said they had already started engaging relevant stakeholders over the matter.
Currently, the prescription of ART is done by doctors only.
“We had dialogue with the Nursing Council and the Health Professionals Authority to revise the initiation of ART. The scope should be changed,” Mushavi said.
“Nurses do a lot of things and this is but an addition. It is a policy shift and we are working on that to make it clear that nurses can do it. The nurses examine the pregnant women and test them. So if the women are positive, they should just get everything that they require where they have sought medical attention.
“We have doctors, but they are few. Twenty-six percent of all HIV-positive pregnant women are dying because of lack of adequate care. We need to decentralise because most women go to rural health centres or to municipal hospitals.
“Eighty percent of all pregnant women and those who are delivering are attended to by nurses while 10% are attended to by doctors. We want nurses to prescribe ART. We do not see why they cannot.”
Mushavi said the country’s maternal mortality rate had increased over the past few years and it was crucial that steps were taken to reverse that trend especially by adopting new pro-active policies.