AmpliCare Initiative: Early Diagnosis of Babies at Risk of HIV

Partnership Objectives

  1. Bring access to HIV testing and monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa in line with access programs for management of HIV worldwide.
  2. Build on Roche’s diagnostic support and expertise to establish state-of-the-art testing and training facilities and other capacity building initiatives.

Without treatment, a third of children with HIV die before the age of one and almost 50% before the age of two. Without treatment, a third of children with HIV die before the age of one and almost 50% before the age of two. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

Diagnosis and monitoring are as essential to effective HIV/AIDS treatment as medicines.  In infants born of HIV-positive mothers, early diagnosis is critical in determining HIV exposure. If found HIV positive, they can receive appropriate medical care before they develop significant illness, and can remain healthy despite their infection. If found HIV negative, the mother can get appropriate counselling to ensure their child maintains a HIV-free status. Doctors also need to monitor disease progression and efficacy of treatment in patients on anti-retroviral therapies so they can prescribe the most effective medicine and make adjustments if patients become resistant.

However, limited testing infrastructure, long travel distances and technological limitations often result in people not returning to collect their test results, or even being tested in the first place. 

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

AmpliCare is a multi-faceted program to address barriers that prevent early diagnosis of infants born to HIV positive mothers along with monitoring people on anti-retroviral therapies. Introduced in 2002, it operates in sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of South America and Asia where the disease burden is the highest.

The program includes:

  • Using Roche R&D expertise to re-design tests and delivery of test results to suit local conditions
  • Building laboratory capacity and enhancing skills of lab technicians to support reliable testing
  • Introducing differential pricing for HIV diagnostic tests in partnership with international health organisations. 

To overcome some of the barriers, Roche re-designed its tests and developed a novel method for gathering and transporting blood samples. For example, by using dried blood spots which require only a small amount of blood and can be sent for testing via the post, early infant diagnosis is now more accessible.

The company also introduced text message (SMS) technology, making it easier to send test results back to rural healthcare facilities, saving people from having to return to the main testing site for their results.

The improved communication has several benefits:

  • Test results are easily and quickly sent to rural locations
  • Patient follow-up is improved by reducing logistical bottlenecks
  • Patients don’t need to revisit the lab, which are often located only in major towns

The collection card has expanded access to HIV diagnosis throughout the remotest areas of southern Africa. Roche continues to work with other organisations in public-private partnerships to ensure subsequent medical care for babies with HIV.

Recent advances have enabled to transfer lessons learned in the early infant diagnosis program to the use of dried blood spots in viral load testing. The viral load test measures the amount of the virus in the blood stream and is necessary to monitor the efficacy of HIV treatment in anyone undergoing treatment.

An education program trains local doctors and nurses to carry out viral load testing with limited resources, and keeps them fully informed about the latest advances in HIV/AIDS care.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Working in partnership with local communities and hospitals and international agencies such as UNICEF, UNITAID, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc., AmpliCare is building and equipping laboratories, training healthcare workers, and diagnosing and monitoring HIV/AIDS patients.

More than 100 laboratory technicians across sub-Saharan Africa are trained annually at our Roche Scientific Campus and partner training facilities in South Africa. This training is now being augmented by additional programs which will train healthcare workers in all facets of laboratory medicine.

Results since 2008:

  • Over 6,000,000 infants tested for HIV
  • Over 15,000,000 patients on HIV/AIDS therapy monitored for viral levels
  • Over 1,700 healthcare professionals trained on diagnostic testing
  • Over 60 molecular testing centres established, including a number of national testing labs in South Africa, Latin America, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar


AmpliCare program for HIV/AIDS

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) Clinton Foundation, Ministries of Health, UNICEF, UNITAID

Type of Partner(s) Government, IGOs, Multilaterals

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Children's Health, Family Planning, Sexual & Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Manufacturing and Entrepreneurial Know-How, Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - mHealth, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Operations Research, Research & Development - Pediatric R&D

Targeted Population(s) Children, Health professionals, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Mothers, People with low income, Women

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 59

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, India, Kenya, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2002

More information Roche Access to Healthcare

Anticipated completion date Ongoing