The project has reduced the level of HIV contagion from mother to newborn, through a series of preventive measures, among them a consultation service for pregnant women. The initiative concerns people living in the three regions of Angola also involved in the Salissa Mwana project. The medical facilities and laboratory at the city of Pointe-Noire have equipment for free HIV screening and radiological and general tests. The heart of the initiative was the University of Genoa's on-site launch of an advanced diagnostics laboratory for studying HIV infection, with our support. We extended the prevention programme to other diseases (in particular the hepatitis B virus) and provided a pre-emptive vaccination for the babies of infected women. Women with HIV were also given antiretroviral drugs and benefited from getting more iron and vitamins. In all cases we provided blood chemistry, radiological and general tests, and where necessary, admitted people to hospital.
We also focused on medical staff training, for 781 doctors, centre managers, counsellors, obstetricians, nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians. The medical team took part in various training sessions, on counselling before and after HIV tests, taking care of infected women during pregnancy and labour, and looking after newborns. Finally, staff were trained on safety when taking blood samples, HIV tests and potentially toxic antiretroviral drugs. At the same time, two Congolese doctors did a specialist internship on managing HIV infection at the University of Genoa.