HIV: Get screened to prevent mother/child transmission- Minister
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has adviced pregnant women to go for HIV screening during antenatal care to protect the lives of their babies from the infection.
The minister made this call on Monday in Abuja during a press briefing organised to update the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic and health sector development.
Findings from the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCP) shows that more than 63 per cent of HIV-positive women are not accessing services to prevent babies from acquiring the infection during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
The minister, however, said the Federal Government was working to change the narrative, noting that it is unacceptable that 80% out of 100% pregnant women in Nigeria are not captured during antenatal care.
“The Federal Government, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders are working to change the narrative about PMTCT coverage in Nigeria.
“The Federal Ministry of Health, through the NASCP plan to deploy to federal and state health care institutions about 2.5 million dual test kits for testing both HIV and syphilis in pregnant women.
“I urge pregnant women to always attend antenatal clinics at nearest health facilities and to ensure that they subject themselves to HIV test in order to protect lives of their babies from HIV infection.” Ehanire said.
NASCP report showed that in 2020 about 22,000 new HIV infections among children was recorded in Nigeria.
Low uptake of early infant diagnosis services, low antenatal services uptake, low antiretroviral therapy coverage for positive pregnant women, low rate of facility deliveries, the report said, have been attributed to the increase.