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Over 63% of pregnant Nigerian women lacks HIV prevention services

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ASSISTANT Director of National Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) in Federal Ministry of Health, Ijaodola Olugbenga has expressed concern that over 63 per cent of Nigerian pregnant women living with HIV who lacks access to the services and are likely to infect their babies.

  Olugbenga gave the figure in the ongoing three-day PMTCT media dialogue in Calabar, Cross River State.

  Pointing out that there are key issues why Nigeria has such high numbers, including “low uptake of early infant diagnosis services, low antenatal services uptake, low Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) coverage for positive pregnant women, low rate of facility deliveries, amongst others,” he also said that “three in four pregnant women in Nigeria are not captured during antenatal care. Nigeria contributes to 22,000 new HIV infections among children. Only 28 per cent of HIV exposed infants had access to Early Infant Diagnosis in 2020.”

  Ijaodola also disclosed that some strategies have been put in place to change the trend targeted to organising all facilities (private and public) and other services delivery points of HIV services for pregnant women using a “hub and spoke” model, linkage and retention of all HIV positive women in treatment based on the hub and spoke.

  Others are the establishment and empowerment of the Local Government Areas (LGA) team to address data, sample logging commodities and other relevant HIV services in the country.

  Contributing, a University of Calabar Teaching Hospital don, Atana Ewa, in her presentation titled ‘Managing Children and Adolescent Living with HIV’ pointed that identifying HIV in children requires a high level of suspicion.

  She said usually the symptoms and signs of HIV infection in childhood are similar to those of other diseases in the tropics but they may be more severe and occur more frequently.

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