Mozambican Health Officials Advising HIV-Positive Women to Breastfeed in Some Circumstances
Health officials in Mozambique are advising HIV-positive women to breastfeed their infants in certain circumstances, despite the risk of mother-to-child transmission of the virus, AIM/AllAfrica.com reports. The announcement was made by Hemlaximin Nataial, a pediatrician at the Jose Macamo General Hospital in the capital of Maputo. She said that health officials decided on the policy after determining that a large percentage of children born to HIV-positive women are malnourished.
According to Nataial, some HIV-positive women do not have the means to purchase formula, while other women do not have the needed hygienic utensils and other conditions to prepare infant formula. "Under our conditions, we have no alternative but to advise the HIV-positive mothers to breastfeed their babies," she said, adding, "Most of these mothers have no financial capacity to purchase artificial milk. In other cases, the mothers have no conditions to treat the bottles and to prepare the milk with good quality drinking water." According to Nataial, the "lack of conditions to treat milk for the babies may result in diarrheal diseases, and we have recorded many such cases" (AIM/AllAfrica.com, 3/18).