The United States (U.S.) Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Community Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (cPMTCT) programme in Lagos to support a healthier population in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Lagos, U.S.-CDC Country Director, Dr. Mary Adetinuke Boyd, highlighted the U.S. mission’s goal of strengthening local health systems in Nigeria to respond to disease-related threats.
Boyd stressed the urgent need to reach all HIV-positive pregnant women with treatment services to prevent further transmission of the virus from mothers to children and that the services should be provided in conventional health facilities, local communities, and other unconventional settings where women seek healthcare services.
“The CDC and the U.S. Government is ready to partner with Lagos State to strengthen the health systems to respond to disease-related threats. Therefore, there is need to continue building and sustaining structures and systems that promote sustainability,” they said.
They commended the state government for its forward-leaning attitude to prioritise the health of residents, specifically the provision of HIV test kits, waiving of user fees, and release of counterpart funds, all of which have been vital to supporting prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
The U.S.-CDC Country Director, who lauded the state’s COVID-19 response, high routine immunisation rate, and remarkable progress in HIV treatment surge, advocated removal of other barriers hindering people living with HIV from accessing health services.
“The relationship between Lagos State, CDC, and its implementing partner, Centre for Integrated Health Programmes (CIHP), has been impactful. CDC will continue to support Lagos State through the partnership with the community in improving health outcomes,” she added.
The new approach, in addition to reaching pregnant women at various hospitals, involves working with community-level health centres, community-based midwives, traditional birth attendants, and other non-conventional healthcare providers. Through this initiative, important life-saving HIV services will become accessible to more pregnant women at the grassroots.
The cpPMTCT programme will also incorporate an enhanced documentation of HIV-positive pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral treatment as part of strategies to close the current gaps in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.