A Project to Extend pMTCT under the sponsorship of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali
What is the meaning of this warmly sounded, new name? Should we get to know this name a little bit more?
“Treat Parents & Prevent Orphans” is a Thai Red Cross brand new program that will commence in early 2003. Due to the great success of the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission Program under the sponsorship of Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali which has started since 1996 and has been adopted as a national policy by the Ministry of Public Health in 2000, the rate of perinatal HIV transmission has been reduced from 20% to only 5%. Anyway, the very expensive antiretroviral medications has precluded those mothers in the program from getting access to the medication even though they were eligible according to their AIDS symptoms or very low CD4 cell counts. These severely ill mothers would finally die and leave their orphans to the society. Since HRH Princess Soamsawali has viewed this as a growing problem and has kindly given her idea to reduce the problem by treating the parents so that they get healthier and live longer enough to care for their children who in the future could become valuable resource for the country.
The advance in development of new antiretroviral medications with high efficacy and safety profiles together with the markedly reduced cost of the generic medications produced by Thai GPO has made HRH Princess Soamsawali’s idea comes true. The Thai Red Cross AIDS Research center knows that appropriately treated patients can live almost as long as normal person with their healthier and better quality of lives but the obstacle is the cost of laboratory testing and antiretroviral medications, which although has markedly reduced still be a live-long burden for the patients.
With all these reasons, the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center (TRCARC) has set up “Treat Parents & Save Orphans” program under the sponsorship of HRH Princess Soamsawali using the existing donation money from the Thai Red Cross pMTCT program together with the donation money and medications from an international group of charitable foundations and UNICEF through Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. These donated money and medications will be used to provide HIV-specific care to the mothers and also extend to cover their infants/children and male partners. Male partners may have to co-pay for their antiretroviral medications since this program aims to create responsibility mind for the patients and families in taking care of their own health. After the initial help from the program, patients and families should finally be able to lean on themselves and live their lives as normal family.
“Treat Parents & Save Orphans” program is the TRCARC first program to expand the standard HIV-specific care i.e. regular physical examination, CD4 cell count testing, and antiretroviral medications to Thai PLWA without waiting until they get sick. Besides these standard care, patients will also receive multidisciplinary cares including psychosocial support, treatment adherence support, patient education and counseling. These will be live-long supports as long as the patients and families still benefit from the program.
In the beginning of the program in 2003, there will be 5 participating hospitals (Chulalongkorn Hospital, Police General Hospital, Somdej Sriracha Hospital, Thammasat University Hospital, and Nopparat Rajthanee Hospital). We will start from newly pregnant HIV-infected mother who comes for antenatal care at these hospitals and expand to include previous pMTCT mothers who have received treatment in year 2002. Infants/children and male partners of these mothers can also be enrolled at the same time. The total number of patients in the first year will be 500 but could be expanded in the future if there is enough donation money.
Please contact any hospital site if you are interested to join in the program. If you would be kind enough to donate the money for the program, please do so by transferring the money through saving account number 045-2-00423-6, Siam Commercial Bank, Thai Red Cross branch, for the Thai Red Cross specifying “Save Parents & Prevent Orphans Program” and fax slip to TRCARC at 0-2525-7577 for the receipt or you can donate directly at Amnuaynoratham building, tel. 0-2256-4440, fax. 0-2250-0312.