Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Save a life for for the price of a Starbucks

I am sitting in Starbucks again this morning enjoying my tall decaf americano with room for milk as I do most days. In fact I usually do not have to order it the Baristas see me coming and ring up on the till £1.75. Guess it shows how many times I visit here!

This morning however my drink has a slightly different taste. I attended a trustees meeting yesterday for LightForce International and caught up on all the latest developments. One thing has stuck with me all night and when I saw £1.75 ring up on the till this morning it hit me again.

For the price of my Starbucks we can potentially save a new born child from contracting HIV. I learned that the vertical transmission of the virus to an unborn baby from mother during pregnancy is low but at birth the chances of this happening during labour increases significantly.

Here is an extract from the World Health Organisation website:

4. Mother to child transmission (MTCT) Vertical transmission
An HIV infected mother can pass HIV to her unborn baby at any one of the following three stages:

a). During pregnancy: this counts for 15-20% of MTCT cases. Under normal circumstances, HIV does not cross over to the baby in the mother’s womb. For transmission to occur, the blood of the mother has to cross over and mix in the blood stream of the foetus. This can be due to various factors, which lead to the inflammation of the placenta. Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis can damage the placenta, thereby allowing the maternal blood to seep into the foetal blood stream. Shock due to trauma (accidents or assault) can also hurt the placenta facilitating HIV transmission.

b) During delivery: Infection can also be passed on when the placenta separates much earlier before the baby’s cord is cut. This stage is responsible for the bulk of infections in children as 60-70% of infections happen at this stage.

c) Breast- feeding is one of the ways HIV is passed on from an infected mother to her baby. This stage accounts for 15-20% of infections from mothers to children.

In Uganda for less than £2 mothers can drastically reduce the chances of their baby being infected by having a hospital birth. So many can not afford this and choose a birth without this expert help. £2 yes £2. That's £2

My kids get £5 pocket money each week. Even they can save 2 lives a week and have change to spare all because of where they were born.

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