1.7 Nigeria women, 380, 000 children living with HIV – FMOH
● Also highest number of HIV paediatric cases in the world
CALABAR – A high number of Nigerian women and children approximately, 1.7million women and 380,00 children under age 15, are currently living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, according to the 2015 data revealed recently by The The National AIDS & STIs Control Program (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
Speaking at the opening of a 3-day national workshop of the Journalists Alliance for Prevention of HIV Mother-to-Child Transmission in Nigeria (JAPIN), today in Calabar, NASCP National Coordinator, Dr. Sunday Aboje, expressed dismay that only 53,677 HIV positive pregnant women out of about 75,855 that tests positive in the same year received anti-retroviral drugs.
“As a result of this, many babies have been exposed to HIV/AIDS through Mother To Child Transmission (EMTCT). Currently, Nigeria has the largest number of paediatric HIV cases in the world”, Taiwo Olakunle, who represented Dr. Aboje, said.
According to him, Nigeria’s HIV burden remains the second highest, globally, with 3.4 million people estimated to be living with the disease. He noted that the country is committed to the goal of eliminating Mother-to-child transmission by 2020 and has initiated a number of strategies to achieve it.
“These include the adoption of the ‘Test and Treat all’ strategy, decentralization, task shifting and sharing and scaling up of PMTCT services through revitalization and strengthening of the primary healthcare systems.
“The e-MTCT Operational Plan 2017-2018 was developed by stakeholders in the national PMTCT response, with the aim of ensuring that 80% of adolescents and young people have access to prevention interventions, 36% of all HIV positive women have access to contraceptive, 75% of all pregnant women receive quality HIV testing and counselling and receive their results, 60% of all HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receive ARVs, 50% of all HIV exposed infants receive ARV prophylaxis, 50% of all HIV exposed infants have early infant diagnosis services, 50% of all HIV exposed infants receive CTX prophylaxis”, he said.
He called for increased domestic funding for HIV response at all level of government, particularly now that foreign donors are withdrawing.
“There should be strengthening of the PMTCT, massive involvement of private sector and private health facilities, focused advocacy for improved political commitment and funding, as well as improved coordination at all level,” he said.
The workshop, organised by UNICEF, has over 40 journalists from different states of Nigeria coming together to discuss ways of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and how to reduce the burden