SMS printers aid early infant diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
Half of all infants born with HIV will die before they reach two years of age if left untreated. Early infant diagnosis and immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) are critical (1). Despite a dramatic, eight-fold increase in early infant diagnosis across sub-Saharan Africa since 2006, the 2009 Children and AIDS: fourth stocktaking report showed that almost 50% of infants tested for HIV never receive their test results (2). Early infant diagnosis of HIV requires a sophisticated virological test (PCR) (3) that can only be performed at a handful of laboratories in Nigeria, creating challenges for communicating the results back to the health facilities and thus delays in providing timely treatment.
SMART stands for ‘SMS Printers to Accelerate Return of Test Results for Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS’. The SMART programme addresses a critical barrier to early infant diagnosis (EID) by leveraging simple mobile technology and design to more rapidly communicate HIV test results from the laboratories back to the health facilities.
- Newell ML et al. Mortality of infected and uninfected infants born to HIV-infected mothers in Africa: a pooled analysis. The Lancet, 2004, 364:1236–1243.
- Children and AIDS: fourth stocktaking report, 2009. UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO, UNFPA, 2009
- PCR = polymerase chain reaction