Cayman close to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of two diseases

Cayman is on the brink of becoming certified for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis, with the last case reported in 2004, health officials say.

A team of health care professionals is drafting a report on data collected over the years, which will be submitted to the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization for certification.

“We have achieved this goal due to the quality of our anti-retroviral program over the years,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar.

“In order to receive certification, we need to document the verification process that we have undertaken to ensure that there has been no MTCT [mother-to-child transmission] for the past three years,” he explained.

“There was no HIV-positive pregnant woman since 2005,” said Dr. Kumar.

He said the public health protocol is to test all pregnant women for HIV, and to treat those who test positive for syphilis. “The good thing about syphilis is it can be treated,” he said.

Members of the Mother To Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis Elimination Initiative team include: Dr. Karina Palmer, chairwoman; obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Laura Elniski; HIV program coordinator Dr. Kumar; Dr. Samuel Williams, clinical head of the General Practice Department, Health Services Authority; Janett Flynn, senior policy adviser, Ministry of Health; Dr. Chela Lamsee Ebanks, pediatrician; Timothy McLaughlin, public health surveillance officer, Health Services Authority; Marcella Greaves, midwife; Judith Clarke, laboratory manager, Health Services Authority; Dr. Lavern Swaby, pediatrician; Hamerika Black-Walters, midwife; Dr. James Robertson, pediatrician; and Dr. Rommel El-Madany, obstetrician and gynecologist.

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