25 February 2014

Nigeria: Govt Laments Persisting Records of Babies With HIV

The federal government yesterday said cases of babies born with the HIV virus remain a challenge in Nigeria.

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Prof John Idoko said reducing the rate of HIV born babies is proving quite difficult as women still refuse to give birth in health facilities where interventions to stop mother to child infection is available.

This is coming at even as stakeholders gathered to brainstorm on how to effectively implement the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) policy across the country.

The United Nations ranks Nigeria as the country with the highest number of HIV born babies.

The NACA boss pointed out that though PMTCT services exist most women still do not avail themselves to access these services.

According to him Nigeria has been struggling with the implementation of the PMTCT services since the 2009 World AIDS Day adding that there were gaps that exist that needs to be closed.

He said: "If you resolve the issues of PMTCT in Nigeria then you would have resolved it globally, but am optimistic that this can be resolved."

The NACA DG stated that operational research can actually drive things forward as can be seen in the Save One Million Live initiative by the federal government.

He, however, disclosed that operational research looks more on the supply side than on the demand side, saying "the problem now is how to stimulate the demand side of operation."

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