Abuja — Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has called for concerted efforts to increase the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services coverage in the country.
Speaking at the Dissemination of the PMTCT Cascade Evaluation in Abuja the minister decried the low PMTCT coverage in the country.
He said with more than a decade of the HIV programme in Nigeria, thousands of patients have been enrolled into treatment, care and related services in health facilities.
He noted that with the scale up of the PMTCT services in the country, there are currently about 6,283 Health facilities offering PMTCT services adding that despite this increase, overall PMTCT coverage remains low at 30 per cent and according to the World Health Organization," he said.
Adewole who was represented by the National Coordinator, AIDS and Sexual Transmitted Disease Control Programme, Dr. Sunday Aboje noted that the findings from this study will help in highlighting some of the possible gaps and possible points of attritions in the National PMTCT programme which may have a synergistic effect in increasing the risk of vertical transmission and hence the urgent need to address some of these key challenges for the country to transition from prevention to elimination of mother-to-child transmission.
"It is based on the above activities and achievements that we are gathered here today to disseminate the report from the PMTCT Cascade Evaluation Exercise carried out in some selected facilities across the 12 states in the country," he said.
"It was based on the above envisaged gaps that the PMTCT Cascade Evaluation study was commissioned with the following objectives; to estimate the uptake of HIV testing and use of ARVs to reduce mother-to-child transmission; to estimate the proportion of HIV exposed infants who received nevirapine within 72 hours of birth, had EID done within 12 months and had a final outcome documented at 18 months and to identify risk factors associated with attrition along the PMTCT cascade," he added.
Also speaking, the Lead Advisor, HIV/AIDS Programme, at African Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Dr. Adebobola Bashorun, highlighted some of their findings.
"One of the key goals is to stop the transmission from mother to child and if we stop the transmission we are sure that the next generation s HIV free.
The main focus is to have a negative child. We can't have a mother with HIV and she end up transmitting it to the child.
Our finding shows that a woman that comes for antenatal is not high enough.
We find out those women that come for antenatal that accept this testing is up to 90 per cent. And those who are tested positive usually come for treatment. The main important thing is to accept the coverage of PMTCT programme."
In addition, the Deputy Director, NASCP, Ministry of Health, Dr. Deborah Oboh said the aim eliminate the menace in the country.
"This programme started in mid ninety and unfortunately Nigeria constitutes high numbers are born negative.
So, we have been working a long time to try to make a difference so that we can reduce the number of babies who are born positive. And so far inline with Global goal is to eliminate the mother to child born transmission."