Maternal and Child Health

Each year there are 240,000 new infections among children under 14 in developing countries. Without treatment, 80% will die by the age of five.

To support Malawi’s bold efforts to build an AIDS-free generation, Dignitas works with frontline health workers to deliver treatment to HIV+ mothers in Malawi through Option B+, a groundbreaking national program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT).

This ‘treatment as prevention’ program offers all HIV+ pregnant and breastfeeding women immediate and lifelong HIV treatment regardless of their clinical stage or CD4 count. By suppressing an HIV+ mother’s viral load with antiretrovirals, Option B+ prevents transmission to her baby before and during birth and while breastfeeding. This ensures that babies are born HIV-free and that mothers remain healthy so they can care for their children and lead productive lives.

240,000 new HIV infections among children under 14 in developing countries

without treatment, 80% will die by age 5

Malawi was the first resource-limited country to provide life long treatment for all HIV+ pregnant and breastfeeding women

126,500 HIV+ pregnant women received live saving HIV treatment thanks to Dignitas International

Dignitas staff provide ongoing training and mentorship to health workers to effectively treat HIV+ pregnant and breastfeeding women, educate community members and ensure the steady supply of medicines. In addition, we are working to improve health systems so that HIV+ mothers remain on treatment and HIV-exposed infants receive timely post-natal testing and care. 

Informed by Dignitas research, Malawi was the first resource-limited country to launch this program in 2011. The program has since been adopted by 20+ countries and was included in the 2013 updated World Health Organization PMTCT guidelines.

Democratic Republic of Congo
South Africa


Option B+ has the potential to drastically reduce deaths and is expected to have benefits for HIV+ women, their HIV-exposed infants and their uninfected partners. These benefits hinge on early initiation of PMTCT, good adherence to treatment and long-term retention in care. Along with partners, Dignitas is studying the effectiveness of Malawi’s Option B+ program, which could help inform the decision of other countries to adopt this aggressive ‘treatment as prevention’ strategy. We are also evaluating whether the addition of clinic- or community-based peer support to Option B+ will improve the likelihood of mothers and families starting and remaining in PMTCT care.

Scientific Publications

Help Dignitas provide groundbreaking HIV care for mothers and children.

victoriaMaternal and Child Health