HIV: AHF trains women of childbearing age to eliminate transmission to children
Written by Adeola Ibrahim on November 25, 2023
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO has trained HIV women of childbearing age called mentor mothers in Nassarawa state to eliminate transmission of the diseases to children.
Mrs Christy Awunor, State Nursing Coordinator, AHF, said the training was necessary in view of the 2020 National guidelines for HIV prevention, treatment and care, which showed increase in children contacting HIV.
“We are here to mentor mothers as a component of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) we are all aware of the new infections according to the 2020 National guidelines over 22,000 children are getting infected annually.
“And we know that it is possible to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV as we head towards the 2030 target to eliminate PMTCT infection.
“PMTCT is a cascade of its own and one of the components is mentoring mothers who are HIV positive and have gone through a process where they have children that are HIV negative because of the treatment.
“So, they turn out to have children that are negative, some also have spouses who are negative, but even when both parents are HIV positive, once they adhere to their medication, they would have children who are HIV negative.
” And because they have passed through the process of Prevention of Mothers to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), it makes it easier for them to counsel new mothers about the infection and how they can actually take care of themselves and not pass the infection to their children,” she said.
According to her, similar training had been held in Kogi, Benue and the FCT, as it goes round all the other AHF program states in the early part of 2024.
She said:” These women live in the communities where they can easily reach other pregnant mothers.
“They can easily encourage other women to attend antenatal care (ANC) to have their HIV Testing Services (HTS) done, to know their status because there is actually low uptake of testing and access to PMTCT services particularly for mothers who are positive, for many reasons.”
Also, Caroline Ulamo, State Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant, AHF, added that the rate of HIV transmission from infected mothers to infants remains high especially in rural areas.
“We still have it for those who stay in interior and hard to reach areas.
She, therefore, stressed the need for more health education especially at the community level, engage mentor mothers, community and religious leaders to support in the elimination of the diseases.