The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Kenyan authorities today introduced into the East African country an innovative approach to preventing the transition of the HIV virus from mothers to their babies.The initiative, launched by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, Kenyan government officials and other partners, includes a combination of interventions and supplies such as the “Mother-Baby-Pack” of antiretroviral drugs and antibiotics, which women can easily administer at home.The “Mother-Baby-Pack” is part of the Government’s Maisha MTCT-free Zone Initiative designed to help eliminate mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV and paediatric AIDS by 2013 in Kenya’s Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces, where about half of all children with HIV live, and by 2015 in the entire country.Mr. Lake commended the Kenyan Government for its commitment to innovative steps to expand and strengthen the quality of HIV/AIDS prevention services.“Maisha means ‘Life’ in Kiswahili, and I can think of no better way to describe a programme with the potential to save so many lives. The Maisha Initiative is a significant step forward towards our common goal of virtually eliminating mother-to-child transmission in Kenya,” he said.The roll-out in Kenya of the “Mother-Baby Pack” marks the beginning of a phased implementation in four African countries. The others are Cameroon, Lesotho and Zambia.It is scheduled to run through mid-2011. During the current initial phase, UNICEF and its partners will closely monitor the acceptance of the pack by women, as well as the quality of supply and distribution.The pact was developed by UNICEF in collaboration with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners including UNITAID, an international health financing agency.Health workers in antenatal clinics will distribute the packs to pregnant women living with HIV, but who are not yet in need of antiretroviral treatment. 29 October 2010The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Kenyan authorities today introduced into the East African country an innovative approach to preventing the transition of the HIV virus from mothers to their babies.