By Gom Mirian, Abuja
The Federal Government through its ministry of Health has identified seven barriers hindering its mandatory goal to eliminate mother – to – child transmission of HIV (e-MTCT) and Zero new HIV infections in the country
Dr. Ijaodola Olugbenga, Assistant Director, National PMTCT Lead National AIDS and STIs Control Program (NASCP) of the Ministry said this yesterday at a workshop organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of information and culture in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in calabar.
Dr. Olugbenga, while highlighting the gaps said there include: poor access to the formal public health sector, the challenge of having a comprehensive data reporting system, Ineligible improvement in Antenatal and facility delivery uptake, low Pediatric HIV case identification as well as poor linkage to care and Treatment for children living with HIV.
He added that Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services at present reaches only about a third of pregnant women in Nigeria while many states are yet to respond to the provision of adequate funding for HIV programmatic activities including PMTCT.
Olugbenga has however, said in a bid to close up the gaps, the government has rolled at a work plan which is targeting at least 95 per cent of all HIV positive person to receive antiretroviral therapy.
“According to the National Strategic Plan (NSP), 95% of all HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding mothers receive antiretroviral therapy.
” 95% of all HIV-exposed infants receive antiretroviral prophylaxis; 95% of all HIV-exposed infants have early infant diagnosis within 6-8 weeks of Birth.
” According to the WHO EMTCT Target (“yellow book”) 95% ANC Coverage 95% Testing Coverage for pregnant women 95% PMTCT Coverage”.
He therefore advocated for the need to develop state specific realistic approach to improve antenatal(ANC) , ANC Testing and PMTCT Coverage.