Hyderabad : Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, announced that Connect for Life, a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease management programme, has been launched in partnership with Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), an NGO working to strengthen HIV prevention, care, support and treatment interventions in India.
As part of the programme, Janssen would support the development of m-Maitri, an initiative to educate pregnant women on techniques to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. Based on the stage of their pregnancy, women will receive tailored voice messages to their mobile phones offering general advice and support on pregnancy as well as specific information about being pregnant and while HIV positive, according to a Janssen statement.
“Through Connect for Life support for m-Maitri, we are looking to close some significant knowledge gaps that put many children at risk of being infected with HIV,” said Dr Randeep Gill, Disease Management Programs Leader, Janssen.
“By connecting directly with mothers, the m-Maitri platform offers a discreet way to share potentially lifesaving information. Through our partnership with SAATHII, we will work to ensure that accurate, up-to-date information is available and accessible to support these women throughout their pregnancy and beyond.”
The initiative would target the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“These two areas have high HIV burden and see less than a quarter of women give birth in a health facility. Nationally, more than a quarter of people living with HIV are not aware that they have the virus, due to sub-optimal testing”, according to the statement.
“Approximately 1,000 pregnant women with HIV will be engaged through a network of 200 private healthcare facilities and will be offered support for two years. Evidence-based health education materials will be provided to the women and to healthcare workers at the facilities. The programme will also enable easier and regular follow up with the women”, it added.